Tuesday, August 01, 2017

ESL Students Explore Art, Identity, and Social Justice with ELMAC interns, faculty, and alumni


This summer, 108 fourth through eighth graders from elementary and middle schools in Ann Arbor participated in the sixth year of the Summer ESL Academy (SESLA). This extended-year program is a central activity of the Mitchell Scarlett Teaching and Learning Collaborative, a partnership between the School of Education and Ann Arbor Public Schools, now in its 8th year.

Children engaged in a hands-on study of art, identity, and social justice that included trips to the Detroit Institute of Arts, University of Michigan Museum of Art, and the National Arab-American Museum. The program culminated in the collaborative design and painting of a 30-foot mural called "The Colors of Our Dreams" that is in the entryway to the Scarlett Middle School cafeteria. Mary Thiefels, a local muralist offered structure and artful support as all 108 students participated in the painting.

Students showcased their individual and collective work at a Family Celebration on July 27 at Scarlett that was attended by more than 225 family members, friends, teachers, administrators, and community members. At the event, students introduced their projects with a video highlighting the work they did over the three weeks of the program.

Three ELMAC alumni—Coert Ambrosino, Katie Gibson, and Evelyn Daugherty—led the program as Teacher Leaders. Seven ESL teachers served as mentor teachers, including alumni Tori Jovanovski, Kayla Clement, Michele Zmich, and Barb Kalisewicz. Cathy Reischl, Clinical Professor, and Susan Atkins, Research & Design Specialist for TeachingWorks, provided field instruction and program development support. Fourteen ELMAC interns taught in the program, the capstone to their ESL endorsement.

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