if someone approached you and asked, “What part do you love best about you?” what would you say? Would it be your hands? Your eyes? What about your feet?
It seems so much easier for many to answer this question if it focused on the negative, just because society portrays so many things to be perfect… like the celebrities on the covers of different magazines. It’s easier to say things like “I don’t like my hands because they’re so wrinkly” or “I hate my curly hair – I wish it was straight.” So when we’re asked to think about something we LOVE about ourselves, we take a few seconds longer to ponder about it.
As part of our community building and to help our students appreciate something that they may not realize is special, we asked our students what they loved best about themselves. This project was inspired by a book called The Best Part of Me by Wendy Ewald, a winning photographer who asked several children “What is the best part of you?” and received adorable answers by them. For our class, it took a few minutes for the children to think about it, but after some close reading and thoughts about the author’s work, they were joyful when we brought them on a little walk outside to take photographs of their best parts in the natural light. We asked them to think about WHY they loved the part they chose and how they might pose themselves so that the photo is unique to them. The questions we asked posed a challenge for some, but the results were so rewarding. It was an incredible experience that both my students, my co-teacher and I really enjoyed. Of course some of the children picked their entire face, or their eyes, but due to privacy reasons, I can only post the ones that show anonymity. The black and white simply made it more powerful when we printed them and posted them on a bulletin board. Here are a few of the writing pieces and the photos we took! (Photos by me and Rachel Hess)
Carving out time to do activities related to community and the children as whole people while finding ways to integrate it into our dense curriculum is always a challenge, but a blessing in disguise. When you overcome the challenge, balance the schedule, and figure out the method in doing so, it’s what makes teaching so much more rewarding!
As always, thanks for reading! xoxo