Sunday, March 8, 2009

someone else's shoes

One of the classes I teach in my day-job as an English Teacher is an experiential literary magazine class. My students divide their time between creating a school-wide literary magazine, and working on their own personal ‘zine. I guide them through the process of developing an idea from a series of goals to a finished product. We spend a lot of time on generating ideas and creative play. We start each class with a transition time, when we all respond to a creative prompt in our journals. I write when they write, and complete all the creative assignments along with them, because I have a strong belief in modeling what I teach.

Last week I brought in a random assortment of shoes. Each student chose a pair of shoes and had to tell the story of the person who owned them. It’s a fun exercise, and a great way to think about how we define ourselves by what we wear and how we present ourselves to the world, which is a very time-consuming activity for the average teenager.

After about fifteen minutes of writing time, we had stories about mutant princesses, bedraggled runaways, rampaging fashionistas, and a whole list of characters truly struggling with what it means to be a human being trying to relate to others in this world. For as much as I may teach them about the technicalities of writing, I feel like I come away the richer for having had the opportunity to share in their creative processes…

3 comments:

Mel said...

That sounds like a brilliant exercise...those kids are fortunate to have you to inspire them and nurture their imaginations and creativity...such a priceless treasure...

Who knows? A fabulous novel may some day be born from one of those shoe-people!!

Wandering Alice said...

Thanks Mel- I have no doubt these kids have much potential for creative greatness. Getting to "play" with their ideas and writing is the most fun part of teaching them...

deandean said...

it's no wonder then that you write so well . I wish I had a teacher like you when I was still a student..they were boring and so bookish. Could it be that they just don't care whether they could produce great writers out of us or not? Most likely. I guess they don't.