Writing & Photographing the 4 Elements

Patagonia Community Montessori School, Patagonia, AZ
May 2006
In this 7-day residency, writer Kimi Eisele and I worked with 4th-8th graders at Patagonia Community Montessori School exploring the “4 Elements” (wind, water, earth, fire) through words and images. The objectives were for the children to use the 4 elements to see and express aspects of their own lives and their surroundings in detailed and metaphoric ways.

Our tools were creative and critical thinking, observation, creative writing, and photography. We linked excursions into the local landscape with discussions and exercises about the Earth, water, air, and fire. Students learned to describe concrete things and abstract concepts and used higher order thinking to render those concepts in both writing and photography. The residency culminated in a photographic exhibit and public reading presented to fellow students, parents, and community members. Young Audiences of Santa Cruz County, a non-profit organization presenting educational arts programs to students in public, private and parochial schools throughout Santa Cruz County, sponsored the residency.