Over the past decade, acclaimed artist Judy Gelles interviewed and photographed over 300 fourth grade students from a range of economic and cultural backgrounds in China, Dubai, England, India, Israel, Italy, Nicaragua, St. Lucia, South Africa, South Korea, and multiple areas of the United States. She asked each student the same questions:

Who do you live with?
 What do you wish for?
 What do you worry about?

Their collected stories reveal the depth of their diverse experiences. The project has since expanded into a free, digital curriculum available to any educator interested in increasing empathy and understanding in their classroom.

Gelles Portfolio
Bellagio, Italy
Pennsylvania, USA
Beijing, China
Penn Alexander School, Philadelphia, PA

The Fourth Grade Project curriculum is being implemented in select Philadelphia public schools. 

For more information on how to integrate the Fourth Grade Project curriculum at your school, please view the lesson plan page or contact Judy Gelles directly here.

Take Part
The Advisory Board for The Fourth Grade Project

Ernie Almonte, Partner RSM US LLP, Boston, MA.


Jacqueline Cassidy, Art Educator, Lower Merion School District, Philadelphia, PA


Doritt Carroll, Lawyer /Poet


Danna Gelles, Adjunct Instructor, School of Education, American University Washington, DC.


Jeff Gelles, Journalist and Technology Entrepreneur, Philadelphia, PA.


Dr. Barbara “Bobbi” Kurshan, Director Of Academic Innovation at the Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania.


Susan Levering, PhD, Former educator in private industry, higher education and public schools

Suzanne Lacy, Professor of Art at USC Roski School of Art and Design


Claire Lomax, Esq., General Counsel, The Lomax Companies, LP, CEO, Lomax Family Foundation. Philadelphia, PA.


Desiree Manual, Past Principal and founder of Dolores Huerta Elementary School, Los Angeles, CA.


Karen O’Neill is now the head of Nishimachi International School – in Tokyo, Japan


Christine Pfister, Director of Pentimenti Gallery, Philadelphia. Honorary Consul of Switzerland in Philadelphia.

John W. Pickard, Judge Trial Referee for the State of CT


Patty Pickard, Former elementary school teacher, reading consultant, professor, Saint Joseph College, CT.


Penny Pincus, Former Middle and Jr. High School Teacher


Dr. Martin Rosenberg, Former professor of Art History at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.


Kat Rosqueta, Founding Executive Director at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy, University of Pennsylvania.


Velma B. Saire, PhD, and retired Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Sewickley, PA.


Dr. Carol Shiffrin, Retired Director of Language Arts, William Penn School District, PA; Instructor, Graduate Program in Education, Cabrini University, Radnor, PA.