Christa Bolen, a teacher at American School for the Deaf in West Hartford, was awarded a $2,000 ING Unsung Heroes grant, the company announced Tuesday.
Bolen is just one of 100 teachers who were awarded the grant. She is now eligible for one of the top three prizes of an additional $5,000, $10,000 or $25,000 from ING U.S.
Bolen received the grant to fund her program idea “Photoliteracy: Demystifying Writing Through the Deaf Lens,” a photoliteracy course for high school students that will relieve some of the fear and uncertainty the students have about writing, according to a press release.
“For deaf and hard-of-hearing students who use American Sign Language as their first means of communicating, English is essentially their second language," the release says. “With the use of student-created visual photography as a stimulus to inspire writing, students’ can enhance their ability to write because of the visual cues. Photoliteracy capitalizes on the keen ability and unique way of seeing shared by deaf and hard-of-hearing people. One of the core tenets of the process is that visual learners perform better with visual tools.”
The program calls for students to use a digital camera and select a quality photograph and justify it based on technical aspects.
The students will then use their chosen photograph “to understand and apply specific facets of written English, and engage in the writing and editing process without fear of failure,” the press release says. “They will ultimately create, publish and display a rich text paired with the photography.”The idea is for the students to become more confident in their writing skills.