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Window Displays Challenge Elk Ridge Students’ Creativity, Business Skills

Feb 27, 2015 03:11PM ● Published by Julie Slama

Elk Ridge students Emma Skolmoski, Haley Stilson, Connor Bassani, Savannah Anderson and Heidi Holmgren kneel by their winning window fashion display. Photo courtesy of Keesha Wilson

When Elk Ridge Middle School family and consumer science teacher Keesha Wilson learned she was to teach a free enterprise unit within her FACS Clothing class, she went into creative mode.

“I went looking for ideas and saw a television show which reconfigured what a department store should be. So then I got to thinking and brainstorming with my husband that this group of eighth-graders could redesign what a fashion window should look like and market it,” she said.

Wilson added to the assignment that students’ fashion designs would come from recycled or reusable household items and that the themes for their fashions and windows were to originate from photos of random things that were distributed, Wilson said. At the end of the three-week project, students were to use school display windows to showcase their projects.

Wilson split the 28 students into four groups. One group was given photos which included a dandelion. So the group designed their fashions, including a tissue paper dress, along a spring theme. Another group had a photo of a cabin, so they created a winter wonderland-themed window with a cotton ball dress. A third group had a photo of the beach, so they created a beach theme with a sundress made from wrapping paper and grocery bags and included a surfboard in their window.

The final group changed courses throughout the January project and finally combined their window from an old-time movie theme with that of a vintage carnival. Together, the group created a dress out of newspapers and plastic garbage bags, and with the dress forms arriving just before the contest deadline, one student stayed late to put on the group’s final touches.

“This group, in particular, learned a great deal about how to work together and how to complete their project, but it was this group that the student body voted as winners of the contest,” Wilson said.

However, there were parts of the project that the student body wasn’t involved in.

Each FACS Clothing student had to file a job application for a particular position in the business — CEO, marketing director, vice president, sketch artist or laborer. They also had to compile a resume and be interviewed after learning proper techniques and etiquette.

Throughout the project, each student had to be true to their position. They had to work as a team to decide a team name and market their product through announcements, posters and handouts.

“Throughout this process, students were learning about free enterprise and practicing their oral and written communication skills. They had to develop a business plan and market their end result. It was a business simulation with a twist, adding their creativity of fashion and design, and it turned out to be a lot of fun,” Wilson said.        
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