Blogging in Barcelona: a Look at an Out-of-Town Project Week

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Eliza Bufferd You can’t wait. You sit at your computer watching the seconds pass. Twenty more seconds, ten more seconds, five more, one more. You hit refresh, and no new emails appear. You desperately try to distract yourself for another minute, and suddenly your computer shows one new email with the subject “Project Week 2019.” You quickly click  the link to find the list of seventeen In-Town PWeeks, nineteen Out-of-Towns, and three Global Exchanges. One stands out in particular: Blogging in Barcelona led by Ms. Ross, an Upper School Visual Arts teacher, and Mr. Cruz, an Upper School History teacher. Two years ago, the duo ran a similar Pweek to Barcelona where students photographed famous sites that later culminated in a children’s picture book. However, with the heightened popularity of blogging, they decided to alter the focus this year. As the participants tour the city’s famed attractions, they will reflect on what they saw with photographs and text entries on their blogs. “Chicago and Barcelona were kinda created around the same time period,” explains Ms. Ross, “so there are things that we can learn about the organization of how the city was actually designed and evolved, and how our city was designed and evolved.” Ms. Cruz hopes that discovering Barcelona will challenge students to think about, “what we as Chicagoans know and love about our city, and see how Barcelona made different choices when faced with similar questions.”  Above all else, Ms. Ross hopes for the students to learn how to become good travelers and good companions; by becoming good travelers, she thinks everyone will enjoy the Project Week together. Mr. Cruz wants students “to find their creative and expressive voices.” Historically-speaking, many famous artists — namely, Picasso, Miro, and Gaudi — were inspired by Barcelona, and Cruz and Ross want students to have that experience with their reflective thinking in their e-portfolios.Mr.  Cruz wants students “to be able to identify a culture frame when they see one.” With only half the school knowing this vocabulary, he hopes to spread it by also teaching students what their culture frame is. Mr. Cruz talks about how Ms. Ross is the perfect co-leader for this trip because of her abundant knowledge of art and photography. He also hopes that students will learn how to use their phones as a tool for photography (not merely scrolling through Instagram). The travel blogs students create throughout this trip can be chosen to make public or private; Cruz and Ross want students to feel comfortable with what they are writing, but not pressured to share it. While they’re still working out the kinks, both teachers cannot wait to embark on the trip in March. ]]>