When was the last time you walked into a bookstore and leafed through the pages of a book? This winter our grade 12 English students made a trip to the Strand Book Store in Union Square to do just that. The trip happened as a part of our unit on The Politics of Place: Home, Migration and the State and as a part of their process of writing migration stories of others.
Our students have been tasked with interviewing and crafting migration stories of their family, friends or acquaintances, ultimately producing a publishable piece. While the stories would deal with the topic of migration, students were given a lot of freedom in terms of the genre of text, be it short story, poetry collection, memoir, photo-essay, documentary, or any other form. In helping students decide and explore their choice of medium, our trip to the Strand was both timely and refreshing. As much of today’s browsing takes place on a screen for our students, the English team wanted to expose and remind students of the importance of engaging in a space like the Strand. This trip also gave our grade 12 students an opportunity to choose their own mentor text for this project, providing them with a greater sense of ownership and personal interest.
In the next few weeks, students will be working independently as well as in small groups to explore their mentor texts and guide each other through the writing process. Through group work, students will explore the possibility of turning their individual stories into collections of writing, working collaboratively to publish a comprehensive product. Through this project, we hope students will not only learn about the people around them but also about the importance of empathy and conveying truth through storytelling.