Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ubuntu revisited! In one snapshot, many of my worlds come together to express magic.

Yesterday, I was invited by ESL teacher Edna Garcia, Invitational Summer Institute '13 of the Connecticut Writing Project, to work with newcomers in her classroom on writing and connecting to John Dau and Martha Akech's LOST BOY, LOST GIRL. Her student, Remy, was coached to sculpt like the Sudanese men and women who participated in the Syracuse Lost Boy Cow Project that I volunteered for throughout my doctoral studies at Syracuse University and under mentorship of Dr. Felicia McMahon.

As part of yesterday's lesson,  we looked at posters created by relocated youth through the Local Literacies, Global Histories course envisioned by Dr. Kristiina Montero. It was then that I interviewed Abu Bility and met his brother, Lossine, and everything in my way of knowing the world did a 180. It was magical working at Bassick High School yesterday and hearing the laughter of youth as they tried their hardest to emulate cow making and made additional connections to the text they are reading. Of course, as newcomers, they are still gaining basic language skills. Two young men, for example, arrived to Ms. Garcia within the last two weeks.

The two hours I spent with the students brought forth everything I understand about Ubuntu and I was thrilled to bring creativity to the mix. Modeling the Cow Project brochure, too, the young men and women began to draft possible memoir brochures they could create and share with their teachers about life before the United States and with hopes they have in a new nation.

I'm feeling modestly empowered before spring break - it's a good thing, too, as I don't really have much time off because of student teacher observations and the NWP Annual Meeting in DC.

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