Thursday, January 07, 2010

Master's Class

I am officially 3/4 of the way done getting my Master's degree in Education with an emphasis on art integration. I haven't talked about it at all on my blog, so here goes.

I am currently taking a class on storytelling. This has been so cool. I'm learning how to incorporate storytelling into my lessons. For example, students could do a book report by telling a story from their book through the point of view of one of the characters. I could introduce a book by telling a story from the first chapter to get them "into" the character.

Last weekend, we had to tell our story to the class. Summing up our life story in 15-20 minutes is quite interesting. What do you keep? What is important? Boiled down, what are the moments of your life worth sharing? My life story came down to Bishop, Jeff Smith, and my girls (the journey to get to parenthood). Teaching would have been part of it too, but since everyone in my class teaches, I didn't feel the need to share that part.

This weekend, we are telling stories that we can use in the classroom. Since I am planning to teach Farewell to Manzanar to my advanced language arts classes, I am going to "become" Jeanne Wakatsuki Housten and tell the story of her family being moved from Long Beach to Manzanar. I am very interested in Manzanar, mostly because I grew up less than an hour away from it and never learned about it in school. I love the book's descriptions of the Sierras and the Owens valley- a shock to a family from the ocean in Long Beach. The barracks they lived in had slats in the wood siding, and every night the winds would pick up, and the cold desert air would blow sand all over their bedding and belongings. I can't imagine living like that. They ended up working hard to make Manzanar HOME, using anything they could find to weatherstrip their barracks, planting fruit trees and gardens in the harsh desert soil. They created baseball teams, school yearbooks, and glee clubs. They made beauty out of what they were given, and that is the part of the story that inspires me. If only everyone on earth could do that!

Back to my Masters- My classes so far: Art Integration, Visual Art, Drama, Movement, Poetry, Computer Arts, Assessment and now Storytelling. After this I have Music, Arts and Culture in Community, and my Thesis Class, and I'll be done. I really wish I could go to Boston for graduation. It will depend on money, timing, etc.

Overall, the experience has been more work than I ever anticipated, but highly worth it. I've come out of class each weekend with fabulous ideas for activities and lessons, and have used my students as guinea pigs several times (with mixed results...but they agree that it's fun to try, even when a lesson doesn't work out as planned.) Overall, it's been worth it!

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Such a good post. It was fun to read what you've been learning. Love the Manzanar stuff. I hope you get to go to Boston. I've never been, but I've heard it's lots of fun with all the cool history thrown in. :)