Penn Treaty Program Reflections on Student Growth

Penn Treaty Reflection Notes from Conversation with Nicole

There is an overlap among the students that attend the Penn Treaty Afterschool and In-School program, some students attend all three sessions. Approximately 7-9 students regularly attend the Monday After-School Claymation Program at Penn Treaty.

Over the course of the semester, 100% of the students at Penn Treaty have demonstrated growth in their ability to develop ideas, write stories, understand the processes of animation, constructively collaborate, and tap into personal expression through Claymation. Throughout the course students have come to trust ASI’s teachers, Alex, Nicole, and Ning, gradually demonstrating more trust and willingness to share ideas. Throughout the course all of the students have made personal discoveries, in addition to the instruction/information given by the teachers, that enabled them to increase the quality of their videos.

Working with animation was a completely new experience for all of the students in this program, and they have been able to make many accomplishments in a limited amount of time, especially considering the time-consuming process of working with Claymation. To create a feature length animation can take years. Claymation adds many additional elements to consider in the realm of 3D art-making. Students must consider time, narrative, movement, sound, and editing. This group of students had no previous experience with photography, film, or animation, and many struggle with writing. The fear-based, high-stakes testing environment these students are used to, and the lack of quality writing support available to these students at school and home, makes writing a very negative and self-conscious subject. Teachers witnessed art lift the stress and dread from writing for this group of students. Allowing students to develop ideas in both words and images, made writing fun, creative, and liberatory. Over the course of several weeks, students gained an understanding of how to develop ideas, break stories down into single image frames, manipulate clay, and work together to embellish ideas.

Students greatly appreciated the individual attention they could receive from ASI teachers. This atmosphere of trust and support catalyzed student engagement and increased the willingness to participate. While some students were hesitant initially, now they seem to be enthusiastically participating and taking in as much as possible.

In this program students work both individually and collaboratively. Exploring things they want to know how to do together, 100% of students have demonstrated growth in the ability to build off of each other’s ideas. If a student is having a particularly bad day however, they may choose to work individually. In these situations, students who arrived upset left feeling much more relaxed and calm after making artwork independently. As the program nears the end, students are getting increasingly excited to see each other’s work and they are greatly looking forward to the final day of watching all of the videos together.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *