The students at my school were recently challenged by admin to do something in the community that would leave a lasting impact or legacy.  My teaching team and I got to thinking and after tossing a few ideas around I brought up the thought of “chalking the concrete”.

Two years ago, in the last year of my B.Ed, I took an excellent course called Community and Culture.  One of our main projects in this course was to do an “Act of Transformation” project.  Two friends and I came up with the idea to chalk the path at Dallas Road, a popular and stunning ocean side path here in Victoria.  We spent about two hours chalking the path one sunny afternoon, leaving little messages of hope, love, joy and inspiration for the runners, walkers, kite flyers and dogs.  Our Act of Transformation project was met with enthusiasm by total strangers; some people stopped to talk to us, others asked to join in.  I remember one man in particular who was working very hard on his new exercise regime; he told us that our notes along the concrete path had inspired him to keep running, even though he was totally exhausted.  Here are a few photos from our project:

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You can’t actually see the view in this photo, but it is a glorious one!

Back to grade 8. For a few weeks we spent our CAPP time searching for inspirational/fun/silly quotes that might make people smile.  We talked about who our audience would be for this kind of community project (strangers, family, friends, children dogs, etc.) We wrote down our quotes and thoughts and I kept those pages stored on my desk because all teachers know that if you really want things to be saved, you better just keep it yourself (and then remember where you put said important pages!)  And then we waited for good weather.

This past Monday the sun was shining and there was promise of Mr. Sun hanging around for at least a day, so one teacher on my team ran out at lunch to buy a whole bunch of chalk and we canceled our afternoon classes.  All 85 of us (teachers, students and EAs) went outside and we did a “trial run” for our big legacy project – we chalked the concrete at our school!  I handed out the pages with quotes written on them and away we went…

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I think our school’s art teacher did this one!
Admin and the amazing ladies in the office got notes outside their windows (how precious is this!?)
Admin and the amazing ladies in the office got notes outside their windows (how precious is this!?)
Some students really made their quotes and phrases pop by adding pictures and using the shapes in the concrete to enhance their work.
Some students really made their quotes and phrases pop by adding pictures and using the shapes in the concrete to enhance their work.
This one is my personal favourite.  This is the door I use (along with many other teachers) every single day.  Some darling child snuck around the corner and added this phrase to the side door.  On Tuesday when I got to school I saw this one for the first time and was brought to tears immediately.  I love that at least one of our 80 grade 8s understands that we are all in this together.
This one is my personal favourite. This is the door I use (along with many other teachers) every single day. Some darling child snuck around the corner and added this phrase to the side door. On Tuesday when I got to school I saw this one for the first time and was brought to tears immediately. I love that at least one of our 80 grade 8s understands that we are all in this together.

This project’s impact on our local community spread immediately.  Our concrete area at school serves as a walk through to get from one street to another so we often have all kinds of people passing through our school grounds on a daily basis.  The other day I had a conversation with a lady about the project while my class was getting ready for PE outside.  She was writing down some of her favourite quotes and asked if we had taken photos of the process, to which I replied, “Of course we did! I document everything!” ha.  Admin witnessed several people stopping to read and take photos of the work our grade 8s did.  I think it’s safe to say our trial run went very well!  We will bring our project to Dallas Road for the real deal sometime later in the spring when the weather is more reliable (if that’s even possible in this city). I promise to share photos!

Have you ever seen a project like this before? Have you been involved in other types of community or legacy projects? Share your experiences with us, we’d love to hear about it!

Karley