Imagined Ideas About School 

This proposal is for a community and university partnership activity focused on the Common Experience: Imagination that capitalizes on multiliteracies perspectives to encourage students visual communication of their imagined ideas about school.

This work capitalizes on expanding definitions of text to include visual and multimodal texts for literacy introduction in our K-12 and university classrooms. Students have thousands of moving and still images at their fingertips, and visuals can be important scaffolds when working with the increasingly complex texts demands of the Common Core State Standards. This is especially significant for our English Learners and others limited by traditional school language demands. 

Addressing the full range of modalities might be most important for the English Learners in our classrooms. Visuals can meet the long held call for instruction that makes language and content accessible and comprehensible within non-threatening instructional structures (Krashen, 2008) and create opportunities for students to collaborate as they explore their worlds in multiple forms (Britsch, 2005; Kist, 2005).

Public School Student Partners Imagination Visualized

Local sixth graders (at a school approximately 6 miles from the border) will be engaged in a literacy curriculum that fosters visual communication. 93% of the anticipated 90 sixth graders at this school are Latino and include 67% English Learners. 81% are considered socioeconomically disadvantaged. Students will choose photography or drawing to illustrate their imagined ideas in response to the prompt “What should I know about your school?”

SDSU Downtown Gallery

Common Experience will be inviting the participating elementary school students and their parents/guardians to a celebration at the SDSU Downtown Gallery to share their imagined ideas about their school, at an event honoring their work. Elementary students will be recognized as artists and presented the book of imagined images. Students will also present their visual texts and discuss about them, sharing written ideas in prose, poetry or other complementary literacy mode. These presentations will be recorded for another round of analysis with the doctoral students.

Sponsor Biographies

Marva Cappello

Marva Cappello, Ph.D is an Associate Professor of Teacher Education where she teaches courses in literacy methods and assessment as well as qualitative research methods at the credential, masters, and doctoral levels as well as advises doctoral students in the joint SDSU/Clairmont program. Dr. Cappello coordinated the district/university partnership at a Professional Development School in Chula Vista for 10 years. Her overseas teaching experiences include instruction in Innovations in Instruction and Curriculum Development for SDSU students in American Samoa. Dr. Cappello’s publication history includes work focusing on the process and products of young children's writing. Her most recent research focuses on using visuals to support English language development and meeting the Common Core State Standards for Language Arts, as well as the use of visuals to support qualitative inquiry.

Dani Bedau

Dani Bedau is a playwright, director, and educator. She has worked professionally with such companies as Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, Cornerstone Theatre Company, and Indiana Repertory Theatre. As Assistant Professor in the School of Theatre, Television, and Film at San Diego State University, Dani heads the Youth Theatre area where she specializes in theatre for and by adolescents and is the Director of the MA Program in Theatre Arts. She created the Coming Up Taller Award-winning Will Power to Youth program for Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles. Dani co-directs the Center for the Study of Media and Performance along with D.J. Hopkins. The Center is an interdisciplinary forum for critical inquiry into the many expressions of live art and screen culture with the objective of making a significant intervention into research practices in the arts. Dani is currently focused on using theatre to forge alliances in the Arab-speaking world. Her new work, Broad Canvas, recently premiered at the 24th Annual International Theatre Festival in Casablanca, Morocco in July of 2012. Dani has over twenty years experience facilitating meaningful conversations between people across areas of difference and creating programs that merge art-making and community-building.

Event Details:

Topic: Imagined Ideas about School

Dates: December 2017 - TBA

Location: SDSU Downtown Gallery 

Faculty Sponsors: 
Marva Cappello. Director, Center for Visual Literacies

Dani Bedau, Chair, Arts Alive SDSU 

Affiliated Courses: 
TE 640 Writing Methods and Assessment 
TE 895 Visual Research Methods Art + Design Graduate Students