Featured Image credit: A photo of me in Toledo, Spain during my study abroad program (2016)
¡Hola! My name is Jessica Minarchek and I am a double major of Spanish and Spanish Education with a Linguistics minor. I currently spend two nights a week teaching English to women from Saudi Arabia through a program called English for All. Besides teaching, I am also a hiring coordinator for Baker Center Catering. As you all know, I work with Rachel at the Kennedy Museum of Art to facilitate the Spanish tours for classes at the University. To read more about Rachel’s experience, you can click here!
While working at the Kennedy Museum, I have worked with different age levels for tours, so we have to change the materials and ideas used to be able to connect with the students on each tour. For our Spanish extra credit tours, we used a lesson plan that applied the language to our Passionworks exhibit. For this activity, we started with reading a short story by the artists at Passionworks (in Spanish) and continued with a discussion activity that used interactive cards to express the students’ reactions to the art in the Passionworks exhibit. After a few of these tours, we realized the 2000-level Spanish students were having difficulty with the vocabulary in the story, so we altered the reading to a storyboarding activity in which the students used a felt board to see the story visually as we continued the reading. Making this slight change to the activity really advanced the students’ understanding of the content!
Like these tours, we created a discussion-based plan for many of the other tours we have done over the past year. For the School of Art and Design Faculty exhibit of Spring 2019, we created an activity with interactive cards that led to a Spanish-focused discussion about each piece of interest. These discussions were based completely on the students and their reactions to the exhibit, so the conversations could range from likes and dislikes to what the pieces reminded the student of. There was great variety in the level and skills of the students in each tour, which brought us the opportunity to challenge the students who visited us at the Kennedy.
While we focus on Spanish related activities, Rachel and I also spend time with other tours and activities at the Kennedy. Currently, I have been helping with the planning and facilitating of elementary grade tours with students from surrounding elementary schools. For these tours, students are going through a variety of different activities that are centered around our Federal Hocking High School photography exhibit and a new OHIO Museum Complex exhibit called “Through the Appalachian Forest,” as well as the Kennedy’s collections of Navajo weavings. I am excited about these tours specifically because they are very interactive and allow the children to participate in hands-on tasks, which include all kinds of fun for young children as they learn about different species that inhabit our own little world around Athens and the culture and history behind the making of Navajo weavings that are commonly housed in museum collections.
Aside from tours, I have also been lucky enough to partake in the planning and conducting of Art Encounters at the Kennedy Museum. During these open studio programs, families have the chance to come in and spend quality time creating fun and easy art projects. These have ranged from “reconstructing” mini buildings around the Ridges, holiday cards and fairy gardens which have all been so much fun to work with and to see the great results of our work here at the Kennedy. I have really enjoyed having the opportunities presented to me while working at the Kennedy Museum. I have received great experience connecting with others and have learned so much about the possibilities that can happen when working in a team with new individuals!