For the second semester in a row, Sheboygan South art students exchanged artistic postcards with art students from Pine Island High School in Minnesota. The postcards help students develop good writing skills, personal voice and opinion while fostering their creative side. The South and Pine Island students have been writing and sending their artistic creations to each other since the beginning of the year.
The opportunity for an artistic literacy exchange began when Nicole Mentjes, an art teacher at Pine Island High School contacted Carol Rokicki, art teacher at South High School. Nicole Mentjes, a former employee of the Sheboygan Area School District and former student teacher of Rokicki's came up with the idea and discussed the possibilities over a phone call.
Students and teachers send about three postcards per quarter to each other. Some of the central themes or ideas include favorite role model or idol, favorite/best memory, controversial issue, and personal choice. Students have the choice of designing their postcards in pencil, prismacolors, paint and or collage. Student reaction to the assignment has been overwhelming. The students are very eager to hear from their pen pals and await their cards. It's like giving out Christmas presents when the cards arrive. Some students have found ways to stay in touch via email or face book to keep the conversation going.
With such positive feedback from the students, both teachers are considering to expand the exchange next school year and or get more students/classes involved in the writing/creative process.