Now I know I'm nuts. I'd always wondered as a high school English teacher how gutsy I would be when it came to creativity and moving beyond the reading and writing that is required of me and my students. So when brilliant ideas come to me, I often hesitate presenting them to my kids for fear of of "the stare." Eyes glaze over, faces are expressionless as students are surely thinking "she's got to be kidding!" Most of the time, I am not.
One of these brilliant ideas worked two years ago when I taught Animal Farm for the first time.
"Wouldn't it be fun to build replicas of the farm," I thought to myself one early, early morning. So I made some notes and approached my senior students. A few of them had "the stare," but more than one simply needed more information and then they were all for it. So after brainstorming guidelines and presenting edited versions of my plan, they got to work and pretty soon my room was littered with farm animals of all shapes and sizes, glue guns, craft sticks, plywood, poster paint, stones, straw, and barns. It was creative chaos at its best. And the end results were amazing.
That has now become a traditon, only three years old, and my kids hear legendary stories of these farms. I hope these African masks will become such legend.
I look across my desk to the 50 or so faces molded in soggy newspaper that line my room and think "We're nuts!" But you have to be to survive these days.
Students, how's it going? What are your plans to personalize these masks? Do you think it was worth it?
We shall see...