During the 2014-2015 school year I had the pleasure of instructing the students at Thurgood Marshall Middle School in Visual Arts. Upon entering the classroom on my first day, I posed the questions to the students "Who amongst you considers themselves an artist? Please raise your hand." To my chagrin, out of the 8 classes each filled with 35 students, no one raised their hand. It was then that I realized the magnitude of the challenge set before me. It was then that I implemented a pedagogy style that allowed me to identify with the young scholars on their level introducing topics that would capture their interests. The children studied artists that they wanted to know more about, had visits from local artists and participated in visual arts contests. During this period the student's confidence and skill level soared and they wanted to showcase their skills throughout the school. They determined that it was time for a school makeover. The Principal granted the students his permission to participate in the "School of Murals" program that I sponsored. I scaffolded much of the students' efforts which allowed them to take ownership in the beautification of their school. In a three month period, thirteen murals were painted throughout the school. Showcased below is some of the artwork created by my amazing students who are also amazing artists.
"Mr. Shackelford I learned a lot in your class. You're a great teacher, thanks for not just giving us coloring sheets."- Kayla J. 8th grade
"Arts cool, I mean there's nothing else to say." - Montana J. 8th Grade
"I went to the vending machine and bought 1 bag of chips and got 2, so that makes your class the 3rd best thing about right now."-Janhoi C. 8th Grade