Recently, students from the Weston Middle School in Weston, Conn., participated in a videoconference with the Ahliyyah School for Girls in Amman, Jordan. Students discussed the meaning of freedom of choice during the hour-long session.
“It was a real mind opener. They were looking at a picture of the Statue of Liberty, and that led to a discussion about the choice to wear a head covering, or not, if you are Muslim in Jordan,” Steckler says. “The art allowed the students to get into the values, and the issues, of a different culture.”
That’s an invaluable lesson for teachers like Amanda Quaintance, who teaches social studies at Weston Middle School.
“I’m always keeping my eyes open to connect my students with the lands they are studying in a modern way,” Ms. Quaintance says. “I thought this was an ingenious idea. And when the students in Jordan got to see us holding their artwork, and we saw they were holding our artwork – across the world – it was just a magical moment.”
Steckler founded Creative Connections in 1992. More than 220 classrooms take part in ArtLink each year. This includes the classes participating in Rainforest ArtLink, which pairs US students with students in the rainforest regions of Latin America.