August 11, 2013
I Am Here is so much more than a photo contest. It’s an opportunity for you to engage students in meaningful learning as they reflect on and generate ideas about the ways their communities either help or hinder healthy choices.
This contest also provides a venue for young people to speak out for healthier communities. Our students have powerful perspectives that are important to larger conversations about key issues facing all of us, and I Am Here offers a context for students to understand what it means to share their ideas and opinions with others.
Over the next two years, Kansas and Missouri schools will move toward full implementation of the Common Core States Standards Initiative. And as I’ve become familiar with this contest, I’m pleased to see many ways that you can teach to the standards while participating in I Am Here.
In Pathways to the Common Core, author Lucy Calkins says Common Core standards emphasize “the importance of critical citizenship,” and “cross curricular literacy teaching.” This contest not only supports students in exercising critical citizenship, but it offers a variety of ways to connect to the Common Core standards across grade levels.
For example, as early as 3rd grade, students are expected to examine ideas in writing with increasing sophistication each year. Here are just a few ways you can use I Am Here to help your students hone those writing skills:
- Conduct a walking tour in the area around your school. Ask students to record their observations in photos and writing. (CCSS Research Standards)
- Incorporate research and writing projects related to the photo contest. (CCSS Informative and/or Opinion Writing Standards)
- Ask students to use technology (i.e. PowerPoint, podcasts) to share research and learning related to I Am Here. (CCSS Presentation Standards)
We look forward to seeing your classes’ photo submissions and learning how they see their communities!
Assistant Teaching Professor
UMKC School of Education