Middle/High School

To see how the PEARLS Project is being used in secondary schools, please scroll through our growing database of curriculum ideas, lesson plans and activities developed by our host schools and institutions.  Positive Exposure will also work with parents, educators and institutions to brainstorm ideas and consider possible ways to utilize the PEARLS Project in a manner that best meets site-specific needs.  We are currently accepting applications for the 2015-2016 school year.  If you are interested in receiving an application and or have questions about the PEARLS Project, please email liz@positiveexposure.org

Contributing School:  Ridgewood High School, Ridgewood, NJ

PEARLS Project Coordinator:  Chris McCullough, Supervisor  of Fine and Applied Arts 

Over the course of the semester, five teachers from different disciplines (Philosophy, Biology, Dance, Writing, Digital Photo & Graphic Arts) worked collaboratively to address the theme “What is Beauty?” while concurrently employing the use of the PEARLS Project into their respective units of study.  This team of teachers met after school to share ideas and explore projects.  Additionally, each teacher worked with their students to discuss, research, and articulate what beauty meant to them.  Students, in turn, were able to ask questions of PEARLS Ambassadors (the bloggers) and incorporate answers received  into their various classroom projects.  The unit of study culminated in a dance concert and exhibition of projects which was open to the entire school community and interested public.

Please find below an overview for each subject area.

Contributor:  Lisa Valenti, Fine and Applied Arts

Digital Photo & Graphic Arts:  The Digital Photography II/Independent Study Advanced Photo II students worked through the idea of beauty from three different perspectives, resulting in a triptych.  Each image represents a different person’s point of view on beauty, including the perspective of PEARLS participant partner. This was also done in collaboration with the Philosophy class.

The Graphic Arts III students worked through beauty through assignments. First, they were asked to depict a poem that was written in response to visually taking in one of the PEARLS participant’s photographs.  My students worked through these poems – provided to them from the Creative Writing class — to give them a visual statement.  Second, they each got to know one of the blog participants through written letters.  In turn, they created a unique visual – a creative mark — for their PEARLS participant partner based on what they had learned about their partner from who they are to their interests and perspectives.  Some students took this project one step further by developing t-shirt designs.

Lesson Plans

Contributor:  Jennifer Landa, Fine and Applied Arts

Dance:  The idea for the Dance classes in connection with the PEARLS project was a project based on the premise of “What is beauty?” and “How does dance relate to that?” Originally, this was broken into a three-part unit incorporating a limited physicality study, a text study, and a portrait study.  As the class explored the project, this evolved into an in-depth character study including a self-portrait and a portrait of a PEARLS participant.  Throughout the process, the students kept a journal for their notes and various writing prompts.  Over time, the students developed their solo studies.  The project culminated with the class creating a group dance piece based on their solo studies.  This dance piece was performed as a part of the Celebration of the Arts and Spring Dance Concert. Next year we plan to create a dance concert solely devoted to the PEARLS project.

Lesson Plans

Contributor:  Louisa Luisi, English & Humanities

Creative Writing:  Two separate writing classes focused on the idea of beauty in relation to the five senses.  These students examined their senses and wrote about what they found most beautiful.  Then, from responses we received from others, they explored others’ senses and what others found beautiful within their own senses.  Some of the written poetry submitted came from the exploration of the PEARLS Project blogs. 

Lesson Plan 1
Lesson Plan 2
Lesson Plan 3

Contributor:  Patrick D. Bernardo, Social Studies/Social Sciences

Philosophy:  Students studied a diverse range of philosophers, from German Idealism (Schopenhauer and Hegel) to ancient Greece (Plato and Aristotle) to India (Hinduism) and to China (Confucius and Lao Tzu).  Over the course of their studies, students collaborated with the Graphic Arts classes and used art work to enrich their studies.  They produced shooting lists, wrote papers, and sought beauty in their own lives and the works of others.  And they debated and argued.  In the end, while we may have had to ‘agree to disagree,’ the students involved in the PEARLS project were forced to confront stereotypes about beauty – both in themselves and in the society around them.

Contributor:  Sandra Kunzle, Science 

Biology Biology 9 students learned about the structure of DNA and the decoding of information stored within its sequences.  As an extension of learning, they created a Powerpoint presentation outlining the clinical diagnosis, symptoms and recommended therapies.  Through the PEARLS Project this year, Period 3 was able to ask questions by email/blogging with students not in the classroom but who live with the disorders studied.  Their dialogue included health issues, social issues and career school/issues that may arise as a result of the disability.  Each day they received answers, there were cheers!  Their reactions to this project are full of enthusiasm and pride, their knowledge of genetic disorders covers more than just the “facts.”

Lesson Plans