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Students see the bigger picture

One first-grade class from Pinetree Community School gets the opportunity to see the world just a li

Posted: March 1, 2010 10:58 p.m.
Updated: March 2, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Logan Crawford with the photo taken as part of a class project.

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Pinetree Community School gave students the chance to view life in a whole new way during a recent art photography project known as “The World Through My Eyes.”

Through the lens of a camera, first-graders were given the opportunity to explore their campus and take pictures of favorite scenes, from mosaic tiles on a nearby bench to the budding leaves of a tree.

Teachers Stacey Susser and Meghan Freeman wanted the experience to teach the class of 21 first-graders the kind of things that can’t be found in a textbook.

“This was such a wonderful project for them because it allowed them to see everything from a deeper perspective,” Susser said.

“Being given the chance to explore their world from close-up just helps them find the beauty in the little details of life,” Freeman said.

The team collaborated with first-grade parent Lisa Amador, a graphic design artist by trade who saw the project’s bigger picture.

Bringing her Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi, Amador volunteered to take small groups of students out on campus grounds for one hour a day for a week.  

Helping students see everyday scenes in a different way, Amador used exercises such as looking at a tree from a distance, then running over to it for exploration at a macro point of view.

“We looked at the texture of the bark and talked about how it is not just a tree but that it is all these little parts of nature that make up the whole,” Amador said. “I encouraged them to see how the sun shines through the leaves and creates shadows on the Earth, but also how interesting textures can be when you take the time to look.”

The students were taught tricks of the trade such as how to use various lens settings to create added depth and dimension.

Students also learned that taking shots doesn’t have to happen from one vantage point.

“By the end of the lessons, students were on their knees taking pictures of how the tops of buildings look against the sky,” Amador said. “Some were looking down to explore the ground below. This project gave students permission to see things differently and produce something unique to their perspective.”

But giving the gift of insight didn’t stop at the students.

As a present to take home to their families, Amador developed the photos taken by each student and mounted their signed work next to a picture of the artists themselves.

Principal Jane D’Anna had her own chance to explore this project’s possibilities.

“I was blown away by these pictures and it was a true gift to get a glimpse into the innocence of a child’s mind,” D’Anna said. “They saw beauty in the simplest things and it just captures the purity of who they are. I believe this project was not only something special for the students, but also for their parents and everyone involved. All I can say is ‘Wow.’”

The project will be used as a springboard for class exercises in creative writing in hopes that the work will continue to inspire the students to explore more realms of creativity.

“The visual of their artwork is something that they can connect to,” Susser said. “Using this to inspire descriptive writing may help to open even more worlds of creative discoveries.”

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