Seeing With New Eyes

"I was thrilled to have Sandy work with my 5th graders using photography to enhance visual literacy.  She captured the interest of all students and motivated them to see differently.  The result was student engagement that resulted in commitment to learning and improved writing skills.  Each year that Sandy facilitated learning in my classroom, students reported that photography helped to make middle school learning memorable." 
~ Linda Koebert, 5th grade teacher

A very important part of my mission as a photographer is to connect young people with the power of photography, and their own power to make a difference.  For six years I have been going into classrooms and teaching children, primarily 5th graders, how to create photographs and how to connect to the world around them through this medium.

When I first began my work in the schools I connected with a program I found online, called Through Children's Eyes, Inc.  The Executive Director, Winifred Meiser, is a woman passionate to do just what I had in mind, and I signed on to participate in her program.  There was a great deal of motivational and specific informtion which helped shape that project, which I titled Seeing Ithaca With New Eyes.  The children would explore their town, taking pictures, and telling stories through their images.  What they found was amazing.

The community embraced the project, and the children presented their photographs and findings to the Rotary Club, the Lion's club, and other community businesses.  They also presented at the Youth Advisory Council Showcase, the organization which provided the grant to run our basic project.  Great experiences.  And the project paid off.

This small town community was so thrilled with the results that they took two photographs from each student and had them framed.  The larger prints now hand in the county courthouse, library and other community businesses.  The small prints are framed and hanging in the school library - prominently displayed for all to see.  I still have teachers, community members and students talk to me about that time of excitement in the lives of their children and community.  It was thrilling for everyone.

The program continues, tweaked each year to match the needs of the school, teacher, and students.  I will be highlighting their work on other pages, and through more ongoing posts.  I will also be exploring more avenues to get cameras in the hands of our young people, teaching them to look at the world around them and to find their place in keeping the world a beautiful and spirit-giving place.

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