Thursday, April 30, 2009

Final Few Weeks!

As usual, I've been updating the blog less often than I should, but there have been a few major developments in my classes since I last wrote:

1. The anthologies are finished!! We only ended up doing it with the second class because the first class has thinned out a lot (due to restrictions on which students can come which weeks, I end up having 2-4 students per week). But as far as the second class goes, all 10 of the students submitted their letters/diaries project and a cover for their story, they came up with a team name and "About the Author" pages, and I designed a cover for the whole anthology and made copies for all of the students. At the end of class last week they got to "publish" their own anthologies (ie I brought in cheap materials to bind each of them and make them look legit and the students put them together themselves). It was a BIG hit... it took a lot of work to make it all come together smoothly, but I'm glad that we did it. (I also have some extras and I will drop one in your mailbox Tristan when I get a chance, and if anyone else would like to see them they can send me an email...)

2. They have written a few other short projects... I find that doing one short story per class holds their interest much better than having an ongoing project, and it exposes them to more challenges in terms of prompts. I do a (very) short introductory lecture suggesting ways to structure their stories in an effective manner depending on the focus for the week, and then I let them write for the rest of the time. One was a prompt where the students wrote from the POV of a superhero (previously created or newly invented) with a secret fatal flaw (ie Spiderman is actually blind and doesn't want anyone to know); another was a short story about a prank played on someone (done on April Fools Day); and last week it was a picture prompt they had to look at and then write a story explaining it or telling the story from the POV of the girl in the picture (I'm going to try to include the photo in this post.... it's quite interesting so I hope it works, the photo definitely provoked some crazy stories...)

The main motivation for the kids to finish their stories was that I would not tell them what the photo actually depicts until they had submitted their versions (if you're wondering, it was part of an opening ceremony for a festival in China... apparently they put some kids in giant "waterballs"?)

And that's about it! I have not yet graded those stories but I'll post later on what they wrote. Next week is my last class... I'm so sad that it's ending!! I've been working with the same kids for a year now so it will be a bittersweet ending to a wonderful Senior year. But I plan to bring some candy and cake and have a little party, and I'm thinking we'll spend the class doing an activity we tried in the past and they LOVED: having students come to the front of the classroom one at a time and do some improv storytelling for 1-2 minutes, and then the next student has to continue where the last left off. I really like the interaction of the students' different ideas and styles... it gives them an extra challenge to have to expand on the material their classmates have created. I'll make a short post after the class to kind of wrap up my impressions of the program and post some of the improv ideas they came up with.

And finally, I apologize if this entry seems very scatterbrained... I'm waist-deep in final term papers so my ability to write coherently has significantly diminished.

Have a good weekend everyone!

No comments: