In addition to the projects below, click here to read about other My Voice projects.
DRUG ADDICTION: 8th grade, Couglin, Harding Middle School
Grades: 7 and 8 • Issues: Drugs/Alcohol •Curriculum: Health, Speaking & Listening, Using Technology & Media and Writing
Her students came up with the focus for their yearlong project by writing and then sharing their persuasive essays on the social issues that most interested them. They then created I-Movies based on their essays. While they were initially torn between racism and drug addiction, the latter won out.
Two community partners served as the primary catalysts for the project. Joe Davis, a former drug addict, spoke candidly and graphically about his drug addiction as a young man. His physical presence in the classroom was a stunning example of a consequence of drug use. Joe was injured in a drug-related shoot out in his early 20’s that resulted in his being a paraplegic. The students were stunned to silence by his story.
Soon after his visit they decided they wanted to make a documentary focusing on Joe’s story. Then they met Traci Reid, also a former addict who now works for the recovery center called Freedom House. Traci’s visit marked a turning point in the project. The students realized they could capture two powerful stories in their documentary, heightening its impact. Her visit also touched on the impact addiction has on families – an aspect of the problem that resonated powerfully with the students.
A third community partner, art therapist Anne Ream, visited the class and talked about what it was like to be an art therapist and how art can heal people who have been hurt. She then showed them examples of artwork done by people who had been addicted to drugs. She also answered questions about how she might work with a teenager or family member of someone who had been negatively impacted by drugs
To develop their service response, the students divided themselves into three groups: one to identify and contact community partners whose visits to the classroom would inform their project; one to survey other students in the school about their knowledge of drug addiction; and a third to film and edit their interviews with Joe and Traci.
To see their documentary, click here.