This spring, I had the great honour of working with 50 Grade 3/4 students as an Artist Mentor through the tdsbCREATES program. I used The Love Lettering Project as the jumping off point for social and civic engagement, and they created the most thoughtful letters.
In the workshop, we wrote love letters to the school, to the students’ neighbourhoods, and then hide them for strangers to find. THEN, we imagined who found our community letters. From these (incredible!) character sketches, we then wrote letters BACK from these characters. I was so excited about it, and it turns out, so were the students! We even took letters to a long-term care facility and shared them with the residents. It was so powerful.
I’m so proud of this five-day curriculum I’ve created and I really wanted to know what really worked and how I could improve it, so for the first time in the years I’ve done arts education, I gave the students an evaluation form. The students were so generous and articulate with their feedback, it was astonishing.
(The overall outcomes: too much brainstorming, not nearly enough time with the good copies. Noted!)
But the biggest, most important piece of feedback I got was that they got it. They GOT IT, this whole crazy thing I’ve been doing for 12 years. They got that “a simple letter can make someone’s day.” That you can “write letters to places as if they were people.” That if you “share love around you, it makes everyone happy.” That our “neighbourhoods are better than they think they are.”
Cue the confetti cannons (and the tears!)