Joan Z. Jacobson
This unit sets out to enrich my students, through the art of journalmaking, by helping to build a clearer understanding of themselves in their present lives and what they may hope to achieve in the future.
Although visualizing themselves in ten years is a challenging and important activity in any setting, I will be teaching my unit as part of the visual arts curriculum in the unique teaching environment of the Metropolitan Business Academy. At MBA, each department has a good deal of latitude to formulate its own curriculum. I have great freedom in designing my courses, so I try to create courses that will engage my students, integrate with elements of the business world, and enrich their lives personally. MBA is a New Haven magnet school serving one hundred and seventy-five students. Because it is a small urban school, three-quarters of the students are from the inner city and are chosen through a lottery process. The other quarter of our population are students from surrounding suburban areas that choose to come to MBA instead of attending their local public high school. Their parents are attracted to MBA due to its small size and the possibility of more one on one instruction. This selection process creates a more diverse community of students from a variety of different backgrounds. In our school, the student population is roughly two thirds black, and one third Latino, with a handful of white students. Each individual brings an extremely different set of experiences with him and her, creating a lively and challenging classroom dynamic.
Students are required to take one full credit of art. (some may combine art and physical education) The students who come through my doors have a staggering imbalance in their art education; some have strong art backgrounds and others haven’t been in an art room for many years. I am forced to teach basic elements and principles of design to all my students so they will be prepared for the demands of my classes.