Wednesday, July 23, 2014

This Summer, Bringing Out of The Box Crandall Thinking to @CWPFairfield and Young Adult Literacy Labs @FairfieldU

At the end of the day, yesterday, I walked into the graphic novel lab and found that one of the students drew this on the whiteboard. I thought to myself, "Man, they have unravelled the essence of me in just two days."

See, I've always worried about boxing myself in with the rules and traditions of writing instruction, and I've always desired more creative, innovative ways to communicate what it is we witness in this world. Text somewhat limits the ways we express because there are so many other ways we communicate to the world. American-born and Western-educated, I learned from my studies that written language privileges particular groups of people because the traditions that follow English are often trapped within the hierarchy of social structures that benefit some populations over others.

This is why I wanted to partner Ubuntu Academy for immigrant youth with the graphic novel lab at CWP-Fairfield. There are more ways to 'say what we want to say' than simply limiting ourselves to written language alone. Language is meant to be played with, performed, drawn, spoken, and inhabited.

At one point yesterday, I saw a young man from El Salvador drawing new knowledge as his class discussed Kwame Alexander's The Crossover and soon after, I witnessed several young people designing superhero costumes to accompany their graphic novels. I couldn't be happier. All were moving beyond the page to make their understanding of language more visual and physical.

If anything, this summer, I want the young people we are working with to fall in love with asking questions about their world and finding a voice to express what they know in ways they are most comfortable. It is Wednesday, week four for teachers and week three for young people. We are 1 teacher institute in and four literacy labs down.

In the words of my administrative assistant, "CWP-Fairfield is totally rocking this summer." With a high five to her, I couldn't agree more.

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