This project provides a bridge from lower to middle school, helping students better understand who they are and how that guides the choices they make.
At Duke School, 5th graders enter a new world as middle schoolers. They change classes, have more autonomy, and have more choices in their social and academic lives.Through this project, students would examine their own values and then explore the Duke School campus and the greater Durham community to learn how our values are projected in the communities in which we are a part: our families, our school, our city.
How have my values been shaped by my communities, and how do my values shape my communities?
Why is public art important? How does it reflect values?
Who am I, who do I want to be, and how do I show it?
Individuals and communities make their values visible in a variety of ways.
People live by their values, and the choices they make provide evidence of those values.
To begin this project, students write about and illustrate their own stories about their values. After sharing stories with each other, these fifth graders sorted values into three categories: very important, important, not as important. Then they chose their three most important values. Building on the value sort at school, students did this same work with their families and reflected on what they discovered. Once students began to understand their own values, the class began to question: what are our school values and how do we know what we value?
Armed with a sense of different values, students began investigating and researching both Duke School and Durham to see if they could find evidence of those values. Students took pictures with a sticky note to show the value they noticed. Based on this fieldwork, they began to investigate how Durham’s values were represented through public art. From a guest expert and Duke School parent, they learned about how values are communicated in his photography.
Each student then chose a value that they wanted to represent. They wrote a paragraph explaining why this value is important. After students decided on the value that they would represent, they got to work planning and designing public art. At their culmination, students shared their work with others, describing the process they took to identify their personal values, Duke School values, and the values of our Durham community.
Special thank you to our values researchers and the fifth grade teachers for sharing their project!