A+ Schools worked with SNU to identify a school with which the SNU student visit would be a positive experience for the children and the university students. While at the elementary school, SNU students worked with two fourth grade classes. It's important to note that there are two educational experiences for 4th-8th grade students.
The children may apply for and be accepted into the Arts Academy for fourth grade. The children who are not selected for the Arts Academy remain at the elementary school in a traditional classroom. Thus, the children who are not enrolled in the Academy feel as though they are not "valuable."
During the visit, there were 3 simultaneous projects since all 50 elementary school children could not paint the mural at the same time. Click on the image above for a Learning Community student reflection to the project.
1. One group worked in the two classrooms with supplies provided by SNU. This group created cards to send to Haiti. Earlier in the week, the children mentioned to SNU volunteers that they were worried about the children who lost their homes and families in the earthquake.
2. A second group consisted of only university students. An older brightly-painted design was on a side wall. When the first group went to survey the painting location, they heard the principal say that he would be thrilled if the students could cover that unapproved painting. We bought two extra gallons of white paint and a group of mostly young men painted the wall. They also removed an old, no longer used wall heater unit from the wall. The result was a clean, bright up-to-date hallway.
3. The last group was fluid as children were moved in and out of the painting group all day. Each child was given a foam brush to keep and was paired with a SNU student. The university student talked to the 4th grader for a few minutes to determine the child's interests and goals. After finding a common point, the child would be given a "loaded" [paint added] brush to paint on the mural.
The university students allowed the children to paint in "their" interpretation. Therefore, the pink scroll with purple ribbon to denote the diploma and the other oddly-colored icons were allowed to stand as a 4th-grade interpretation. The SNU students remarked that they knew the children would walk by the mural for years to come and point with pride to the part of the mural that "they created."