School Is Cool:
Integrated Arts Programs and the High-Risk Child
School School is cool. But I'm a fool, I could do beter. Or I could do werrs. On my report card I got two F's. I thait that I was faling. When I got to my new class it wast the 5th grade. When I got home I told my mom. She was so prode of me. So was my dad. They bought me a presant … Evan D. age 11
I watched Evan fiddle with his newly pierced ear as he wrote this poem. From his self-selected seat in the far corner of the room, he furtively scratched away at this first draft, protecting any view of the paper with his arm and shoulder. Occasionally he glanced around to check the progress of the other kids or to monitor the proximity of the instructors. He bore down hard on his pencil, breaking the point. When I asked for it, he reluctantly handed over the paper without making eye contact. “You've written a poem, not committed a crime, ” I joked. He smiled and looked briefly in my face.
Evan continued avoiding contact with me and my co-instructor of this integrated media arts and literature project. He was aggressive and loud with boys his age, but diffident and shy when asked to give ideas for his team's poetry video. He showed enthusiasm for the video but declined to even touch the camera. Finally he was cajoled into shooting “just one shot.” I told him I would spot him because he confessed fear of dropping the camera. He didn't. In fact, he showed a good eye and steady camera work. Clearly he had listened to instructions and knew the protocol. When his shots were critiqued favorably by his team, he punched his fist in the air. From then on, he was a confident camera person, eager to shoot and equally eager to offer his help to the others.