After last week, I wasn’t sure what to expect this week: the students were very happy and eager, but I was afraid they wouldn’t return for a second week due to scheduling conflicts or lack of interest. To my surprise and delight, all 4 students returned! Even better, in addition to Keion, Moises, Alexa, and Deborah, we got 4 new students who enrolled in the class! We welcomed Sophia and Michael, and a brother and sister duo who joined at the end of class and who we’ll get to meet more next week. Very exciting news for Community Lens 😊
We always start by writing “Welcome Community Lens” on the white board in the basement of Mount Pleasant Library where we hold our photography class. We greeted all the friendly, familiar faces and then got started with our first activity, “Move Your Bum,”. We sat in a big circle of chairs where one person in the group stood in the middle. That person says, “Move your bum if……,” and picks something that is true for them and may be true for the other students. If it’s true for you, then you have to get up and switch chairs! The last person without a chair is the new person in the middle. We all had SO much fun with this game, both us and the students. Of course, I ended up in the middle half the time, but we had everyone on their feet laughing and coming up with great reasons to move their bums. It’s especially important that we start with an ice breaker with our students because most don’t know each other, and at the ripe ages of 7, 10, and 12, it can be harder to step out of your comfort zone and it may feel awkward being outnumbered (although not anymore!) by college students. We’re lucky to have such happy, eager students because they opened up within a day of the class and actively participate in all our games and activities. Laughter is one of the best sounds in the world.
After our introductory game, we briefly went over our Community Agreement from the week before, both to remind the students of it and check if they wanted to add something, and to introduce it to the new students in the class. We then went over the concept of Community: What is in a Community? Who makes up a Community? Why are Communities in important?. For some pretty heavy philosophical questions, the students did fantastic with some prompting! They listed a bunch of places in their community, like recreational centers, schools, and churches, and told us who made up a community, they stressed police officers and fire fighters heavily, and why community is important to them: it makes them feel safe, it allows them to have fun, and it allows for teamwork. Our goal was to open their eyes to the broad definition of community, both large and small communities, and get them to identity what their community consists of.
Since last week, our students were dying to go outside and explore. They couldn’t wait to take pictures of nature and animals and houses, so when we took them outside, they were elated and starting taking pictures of everything they found: flowers, animals (especially dogs!), trees (there was a beautiful weeping willow by the Pleasant Valley Stream we walked to), and houses. They were able to get away with not following photography etiquette- not taking pictures of people without their permission- because they were young and cute, so the people in the neighborhood didn’t mind too much. They loved taking pictures outside so much that it was hard to get them back inside when the class was over! It’s safe to say they’re looking forward to our activities for next week, and we’re looking forward to seeing the world through their community lens this semester. 😊
Claire Rigaud, Providence College Class of 2018, Math Major