These murals emerged from the 4th grade student drama project from a child’s point of view. Through drama and journal writing, children investigate how human activities impact planet Earth. The text messages in this mural represent their thoughts and feelings, shared from their journals after each Drama World class. Drama World is the place where anything can be imagined: past, present, or future. In Drama World, students pretend to be someone else. They bring to the scene what they know. In every situation, there is a big problem to fix. For example, as they conjure up seeing plastic straws and balloons floating back on shore, a girl says: We asked people to stop but they don’t listen. The actors ask: What happened? Where did his happen? Why? What do we need to know to make things better? Children find comfort and solace through drama when circumstances frighten them, and the future terrifies. One student wrote I enjoyed it because you can just be yourself and do the acting at the same time. When they share their ideas about how to make what looks impossible possible, these children discover their resilience. Drama is their entryway to hope. The COVID-19 pandemic cut short this school year’s project. In the brief time between school and stay-at-home, students in four classrooms investigated their environment with curiosity and compassion. One student, acting as Owl, wept: Where will I live with my children? Clear-cutting destroyed her habitat. Another student embodied Bobcat: Where will I live? How will I hunt after all these fires? As world-makers, children want to find solutions. Each child’s pov class began with mindful meditation, followed by drama and journaling. Students wrote what they enjoyed. They described their challenges. They told us what they want us to know about them: favorite color, favorite food, tender family moments, their concerns for the land and animals, something they are sad about, and their experiences of sitting like a mountain. When they saw their own words printed large on the classroom wall, like hungry fledglings, they eagerly sought themselves, looking for the sentence they wrote. Finding it, they exclaimed: That’s me! That’s me!
Mural Installation 2020

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Children want to be seen.

Children want to be seen.

They need to be heard.

They need to be heard.

Their ideas matter.

Their ideas matter.

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