Letter writing is an art. But it is more than that. Letter writing is heart, said an inspirational writer.
JCCS students learned about history through letters and practiced the art of letter writing as part of the most recent Design Jam project, a cross-curricular effort designed to engage students in relevant learning.
Students explored climate justice, world wars, and the teen brain in multiple classes, then set out to answer the question, “How can we create the future we want?” and consider what action was needed to get there.
In addition to writing letters to the future, their future self, or the past, they created public service announcements (PSAs) and photo essays related to what they learned about the human brain, and other expressive art forms such as drawing, poetry, and argumentative writing.
In a letter to his future self, one student wrote, “My promise to myself is that I won’t end up in a bad place. I will have and live a successful life and have my own house and live a dream of my own.” One student created a PSA graphic that included facts about the human brain while another argued in favor of paying college athletes.
“We’re trying to offer students experiences, experiences to find their passions, their voices, discover their own power,” said Sara Matthews, JCCS instructional coach. “And when you see kids find things that mean something to them and coming up with ideas that are theirs and plans to make a difference, that’s what education is. That’s the fire behind the Design Jams.”
Students from each JCCS region of the county participated in the project, working with JCCS’s arts partners to create their work and ultimately share it through virtual exhibitions. Partners included A Reason to Survive, Arts for Learning San Diego, David’s Harp Foundation, Mid-City Community Music, Movement BE, Outside the Lens, and Playwrights Project.
This is the third Design Jam JCCS has hosted and planning is underway for the next one, tentatively scheduled for the fall. The series exemplifies a successful partnership with community arts organizations to deliver arts education and one reason JCCS was recently recognized by the California Department of Education as an exemplary arts school.