Friday, February 8, 2008


Today I observed an inspiring class at a local high school. Students were studying immigration into the Americas in an interdisciplinary humanities class, and were given the assignment to research their own family histories and tell their own stories of immigration. Instead of the traditional research report, they were to present their findings in multigenre format. They had to use at least 4 different genres- art, letters, journal entries, poems, photography, etc. The range and creativity of what students brought in was impressive—everything from family artifacts like journals and documents, to “invented” journal entries aged with tea to resemble primary documents, to poems, collages and elaborate storytelling performances. In some portfolios it was clear the students were strong writers, in others, the concepts were expressed through art and other visual media. Their ancestors had arrived with the pilgrims, were shanghaied by the British Navy, fled the potato famine, left Pakistan for India during the collapse of British colonization and generally taken courageous steps in hopes of finding a new life in America. What a creative way to bring to life the stories of this diverse group of teens in a way that honors their individual learning styles!

This weekend the Pirate King is off on the high seas, and I have my own homework to complete… its time for physical clutter to vaporize. After all, I can’t paint or draw if my pencils and paper are buried under Christmas decorations…

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