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Students work together, learn problem-solving at Whoville Middle

Published Wednesday, December 19, 2018

All the Whos at Whoville Middle in Berkeley County were putting finishing touches on final school assignments Wednesday before the upcoming holiday break.

They were all working hard, but there were smiles on their faces. Decorations lined hallways and other school spaces. Principals monitored student behavior with great care, for they knew that the Grinch was everywhere.

Transforming St. Stephen Middle into Whoville was a large undertaking by Art I students at the school, but as you can imagine, it was packed with excitement.

SSM art teacher Erica Harper said it was also chock full of lessons in problem-solving, math, science and collaboration.

“I think a lot of times they think of art as just sitting down and coloring,” Ms. Harper said. “Art is so much more than that. I like to infuse literacy and science and math and all kinds of other stuff into it.”

Ms. Harper said she wanted a hands-on experience for her children. There was no better project than attempting to bring a book to life with the school’s hallways as the canvas.

“I wanted them to experience a problem-solving opportunity,” she said.

While it was a lot of work, Ms. Harper said it was a lot of fun. She described the creation as something some of her students may have rarely or never experienced.

“I felt like, from their eyes, it looked like an art gallery or museum,” she said. “I’m not sure how many kids from my school have the opportunity to go to an art gallery or museum. …They are in awe and pointing.”

Ms. Harper said she hopes to make the project an annual tradition on the campus of St. Stephen Middle.

Her biggest goal, she says about such a project, will always be to get students to understand what’s possible when working collaboratively and that sometimes a project doesn’t quite turn out the way you expect.

Brian Troutman