Building Community, One Shell at a Time

BY Thomas Tricker & Amy Dion 

John W. Decas School

Project Description

The goals of this project are many, but they all involve community and community service.  Second graders from John W. Decas Elementary school with the help of Wareham High School students will create clay shells that can be shared with members of our Senior Citizen community and sold to raise money for a local charity.  The Wareham High School students will have the opportunity to serve as mentors for 2nd grade students and the second grade students will have the opportunity to share their work with the larger Wareham community. Since we do not have a kiln at the elementary school, and thus have not had the means to work with clay, we see this as an excellent learning experience for our students.  It gives our students an opportunity to work together, and allows the High School students to teach and serve as good role models for the younger students.

Students at the high school will help prepare the clay shell lesson. They will discuss the techniques and processes that they will need to present to the 2nd grade students, and share their own experiences with community service.  In turn, the 2nd grade students will be introduced to a new material, clay, and learn proper techniques for creating artwork in regard to the 3-dimensional form.  The students will also learn how every person is part of a bigger community.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)

At the end of the project elementary students will have two finished sea shells, one that they will keep, and one that they will give to another member of the community.  We will document the process with photos of the students working together, photos that can be shared on the WHS and Decas School websites.
The High School students will create a written reflection on the process to be included in their graduation portfolio. The 2nd grade students will reflect on what they learned about community service and their experience of working with clay and the High School students. The following Massachusetts Visual Arts Frameworks will be of particular focus in this experience.

For  2nd grade:
Standard 1.1 – Use a variety of materials and media
Standard 2.4 – For shape and form, explore the use of shapes and forms in 3D works.

For high school:
Standard 1.9 – Demonstrate the ability to create 3D works that show knowledge of unique characteristics of particular
media, materials, and tools.
Standard 7.6 – Describe the various roles artists serve and describe their activities and achievements.

Benefit to the students and the school

The benefits of this experience to the students, in both age brackets, include the following: social awareness with the understanding for needs and feelings of others, the appreciation of the similarities and differences among individuals and groups, maintaining positive relationships with others and responsible decision making; all of which contributes to one’s school and one’s community.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)

Once the project is approved, arrangements will be made between the principals and art teachers at both schools, and the project will be completed before the end of the 2018-19 school year.