Art as a Common Language

May 30 & June 6, 2023

Educator: Rahana Schmalacker 

Teaching Artist: Moriah Ray Britt, Interdisciplinary - Mural & Printmaking

School: Central Islip High School, Grade 9 English

District: Central Islip Union Free School District


After reading Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, Central Islip High School’s 9th grade students developed projects showcasing their analysis of the text. With a focus on the theme of love, students developed their own printmaking plates and expressions in response to the literary piece. 

Big Idea/Guiding Question(s):

How can we use art as a common language to communicate our experiences?


Moriah will work with CIHS 9th-grade English students to develop their creative skills and visual language. The students will use their creative skills to better understand their studies of the works of literature read in class. The students will analyze their literary assignments and express their reactions using visual interpretation. They will showcase their work in the classroom and on a digital platform, accessible to themselves and the student body.


Students will be able to read and analyze the structure of texts and build knowledge of literary works from their studies. They will be able to approach complicated themes and characterization from an artistic perspective and form new ideas while considering a different approach to expressing their learning.


Welcoming and affirming environment: Students will be encouraged to navigate the different ways of expression in relation to their assignments with encouragement and positive reinforcement from their teacher and cultural partner. High expectations and rigorous instruction: Students will understand that the workshops are open for taking risks in expressing themselves and using visual language, and they will have the opportunity to experience a different way that they and their peers communicate their ideas.

Inclusive curriculum and assessment: Students will have the opportunity to discover and learn from each other’s perspectives by examining the results of each workshop, and collectively celebrating their work in an online exhibition.

Ongoing professional learning: Students will understand that using a visual language results in understanding that there can be many interpretations made from the same idea. They will be introduced to the cultural partner’s profession and the many avenues taken to use creative thinking in their careers.