Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mirror - Chimera

Still catching up on past adventures ...

Last year Olive Delsol and I co-taught a creative writing class at Kennedy Alternative High School on a volunteer basis. The first term was mostly free-writing and Olive and I working to come up with prompts that would engage the students -- and coping with how the class was almost never the same group of people. For the second term we decided on a curriculum of reading and writing our way through the early history of storytelling (fables, fairy tales, myths, and legends). That term was also when we "teachers" spent a lot of time learning how to keep the class on an even keel while our students coped with their often tumultuous lives. For the third term the class decided to produce Kennedy's first ever literary magazine. Many deadlines were blown and Olive and I kept reminding ourselves that the students were working mostly in the dark, having never produced and held in their hands a final product like we were making. In the end it all came together: 48 pages of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and lots of art funded by ten donors in our Cottage Grove community. During that same push to deadline, Olive and I found out about a grant four days before it was due; we wrote up our proposal, hand-delivered it with at least 20 minutes to spare, and later received $2000 to continue our class next year and produce three more issues of the magazine.

About the photo: the first issue of The Kennedy Mirror was called The Chimera because of our myth and legend work. Also a chimera is a fabulous creature of disparate parts (such as lion, goat, snake) that can spit fire. Five students made the parts of the chimera and its fireball.

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