Student Projects

You. Me. We. A project in search of self actualization.

Author: Shani Leader

Grade: 9th

Subject: Art

Mounting mural pieces
Students working on artwork
Pencil drawing
Pencil drawing
Pencil drawing
Drawing for
Drawing for
Painting for
Pencil portait
Drawing for
Drawing for

9th grade students had the opportunity to explore themselves through a variety of artistic exercises. In doing this, students gained a better understanding of who they are as individuals. Students then combined all these pieces to create one painting that truly represents who they are on a deeper level. Students also consider how they contribute to the wider community by creating a community work of art.

How can the study of self through art help you understand who you are?
How does self actualization affect how you contribute to your community specifically the HTH community?

Throughout the semester, students will explore themselves through 8-10 weekly artistic exercises. Some examples of these exercises are guided self portraits, symbolic self portraits and spirit animals. With these pieces, students created a small portfolio of work all representing different aspects of self.

In addition to self exploration, students were introduced to various mediums and materials. They used watercolor paint, watercolor pencil, acrylic paint, pencil, oil and chalk pastel and color pencil techniques to create their portfolio of work.

I was recently inspired by a talk I heard at the HTH Forum by Chris Emdin of Columbia University. He talked about project based learning through the lense of equity. One thing that struck me about his talk was his that students need to self actualize before they can truly do PBL work. Of course this is true! How can a fourteen year old be expected to think critically and delve deeply into multidimensional and interdisciplinary projects without having an understanding of themselves, how they learn best and how they best communicate productively with others? As I thought about what I wanted to get out of my students this semester, I realized that the end products were not as important to me as the process and what we learned about ourselves and each other along the way.