Anyone know any NOLA-based photographers?
We are working on a project with a 3rd-grade class at Batiste Cultural Arts Academy about how our personal lives fit in the context of a neighborhood and a city. The kids will be receiving disposable cameras to photograph representations of where they’re from, and we want to collaborate with a pro or two to maximize the learning experience. If you or anyone you know would be a good fit, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This one’s easy, yet hugely important. When you purchase your copy of BIG CLASS Volume I: The Animals or receive it in the mail, take a picture with it. We will post it on our blog. The kids will be thrilled to see their work spreading far and wide.
While on a recent trip to New Zealand, our friend Susan sent us a series of postcards that taught us about that country’s culture. It was great to learn about a place we had never really thought about before, and it felt really nice to get some mail from someone who cared about us. So nice, in fact, that we wrote her some postcards telling her about Louisiana.
Send us a postcard! Tell us a little bit about who you are and where you are from or where you’re visiting. We’ll write back.
Our address is:
Lincoln Elementary School
C/O BIG CLASS/Mr. Keller
2115 Oakmere Dr.
Harvey, LA 70058
Our students have just begun writing for the first time and are looking for people to create images for their stories about animals doing things they don’t normally do. Stories like The Zebra and the Unicorn by Destini Oakley (age 6):
The zebra and the unicorn were friends. One day, they went to the farm. Then they saw the old woman in the middle of the road playing basketball. They thought this was funny so they laughed. But then she invited them to play with her, so they did.
Or It Is Your Destiny to Destroy a Monster by Jamiyah Collins (age 6):
Once upon a time there was a cheetah whose destiny was to destroy the meanest monster. The meanest monster had kidnapped the cheetah’s father! He went to the castle and knocked on the door. The monster woke up and the cheetah scratched him. So the monster gave the cheetah his dad back and cried.
Hopefully, you are as astonished by their abilities as we are. Just as exciting has been their enthusiasm for the project that accompanies their writing-and here’s where you come in- a book that will collect their stories and pair each one with an illustration by a grown-up artist- YOU. The book will be a showcase for the talents of the students as well as those of the artists, while giving both students and artists a tremendous and invaluable sense of large-scale accomplishment and a lesson in publishing and creative collaboration. Each kid will get a copy of the book and we will be selling copies in local bookstores to raise money for future projects.
Our friend Kyle Kabel, the best graphic designer (http://kylekabel.com/), will be designing the book and we’re looking for collaborators to lend their talents to the stories. A drawing, a photograph, a painting- whatever you’d like to do. We want to give each artist two stories and the deadline of February 4 to complete their work.
It is our hope that this will be just the first installment of a continuing project, one that will grow based on interest and involvement. To express your interest or learn more, please e-mail us at
Last year, when Mr. Keller taught 5th grade, some wonderful friends of his out in California had a poster-making party. They used the old fashioned tools (construction paper, glue, glitter, etc.) to make posters that expressed encouraging ideas they hold dear. They put the posters in a big box, shipped them down to Waggaman, LA, and enclosed a note to the kids introducing themselves. Months later, the kids were still asking about their mysterious benefactors, and running the wisdom over and over in their brains. Their favorite was probably a banner that read “You Are One of a Kind.”
Create a poster by hand. Just as in Project 2, it can be encouraging, it can be academic, it can be profound, it can be whatever you think a kid would like to or should see in their classroom.
This project (and to some extent, BIG CLASS in general) was inspired by the Learning to Love You More project, which was
both a web site and series of non-web presentations comprised of work made by the general public in response to assignments given by artists Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher.
Participants accepted an assignment, completed it by following the simple but specific instructions, sent in the required report (photograph, text, video, etc), and their work got posted on-line. Like a recipe, meditation practice, or familiar song, the prescriptive nature of these assignments was intended to guide people towards their own experience.
It is one of our aspirations that a function of BIG CLASS is to offer the same sort of experience, with the added bonus of working with the innate creativity of kids.
Schools are usually decorated with laminated posters featuring lame slogans, blocky fonts, poor illustrations- essentially the opposite of anything worthy of a kid’s attention.
Design a simple poster. It can be encouraging, it can be academic, it can be profound, it can be whatever you think a kid would like to or should see in their classroom.
An inspiration to us is the design at Achievement First Endeavor School in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. A great write-up of their project can be found here. Some wonderful examples:
Some good people and designers have already made some great stuff just for us, which will be shared here soon.
Send your product or questions to email@example.com.
In order to immerse kids in a language-rich environment, it is important for them to hear stories being read aloud. We have a listening station in our class where kids can listen to someone reading a story while they follow along.
Record yourself reading a book or story, and send it along with a short bio and picture of you, the reader.
When you record the story, be mindful of punctuation (it is important, for instance, that the kids hear how you deal with a comma) and have fun. Your enthusiasm is infectious.
We have already had friends contribute wonderful readings of Horton Hears a Who and The Snowy Day, which I will be posting here soon.
We will be also be collecting the bios and pictures in a little book where the kids can see who is reading to them and learn a bit about them. Have fun with these. They do not have to be completely factual, though if you present yourself as, for instance, a wizard, we’d prefer it’s a picture of you, just with a fake white beard and silly hat.
Any questions, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.