Vision of two North Gwinnett High School teachers comes to fruition as a poem comes to life
By: Debi West, Ed.S, NBCT
North Gwinnett High School – Visual Art Department Chair/NAHS Co-Sponsor
To celebrate National Arts in Education Week, Debi West, a visual art teacher and Natalie Powell, a language art teacher collaborated on bringing their students together for a day of learning in a fun and different environment. Earlier in the week they taught their students about T.S. Eliot’s poem, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, and had them consider the images that worked within the poem. After a bit of research, students then spent their class periods in the outdoor classroom creating a large scale chalk drawing of stanzas from the poem, enhanced through visual elements. Over 300 students worked throughout the day and after school, the National Art Honor Society students and the National English Honor Society students took over and worked to bring the vision to its perfected closure!
The day was filled with joyful, collaborative learning and was enhanced when the microphone and speakers came out and the poetry slam began. Not only were students working hard on creating a beautiful rendition of this poem, they read the poem out loud to bring life to the art, while art brought life to the text of the poem. At 1:30 the jukebox arrived from TouchTunes and the place really started hopping! By 4:00, the chalk dust settled, the music ended, the pizza boxes were empty and two tired teachers high-fived one another realizing they had brought together students to create a day that would not soon be forgotten! The images remain but will slowly fade, but the day will remain in the hearts and souls of the students involved on the day they brought a poem to life!