Thursday, March 6, 2014

Stories Hold Us Together

6 of 31 at Two Writing Teachers!
Today, more than usual, my classroom buzzed with excitement.

Today, more than usual, my students' eyes sparkled with pride.

Today, more than usual, they shared precious pieces of themselves and honored each other with respect, curiosity, and caring.

Today, more than usual, my students were really a part of our school community.

Today, more than usual, stories held us together. Not just as a classroom, but as a school, and as a school community that honors families.

This year's event logo, designed by a Computer Graphics student!
A joint project between several of my Iraqi students. A student who graduated last year even came to help out! Do you see the clay minaret in the bottom right corner? One girl made it just for this event!
When you visited their table, they would write your name in Arabic and give it to you -- a real crowd-pleaser! They made 100 cards for this and almost ran out!
These 2 boys decided to build their display like a giant Venn Diagram -- Saudi Arabia information on the left, Kuwait on the right, and shared culture in the middle!  LOTS of delicious food drew huge crowds!
3 students created this extensive display about Japan, complete with Manga, toys, games, art, money, & more!
The artwork on the table (there's also one on each side of the above Japanese display) was created by IB art students at our school, who read my students' StoryBox stories and then illustrated them. So cool!
This girl just came in November with no English. She was initially hesitant to present today, but my other students convinced and supported her, and she did a wonderful job!
A group of Mexican students put together this huge display, with several posters, food, personal photos, and a quinceañera doll! A huge victory happened at this table as one of my least confident students got so caught up in the excitement that she ended up standing on a chair, pointing out all her favorite pictures on her poster and rattling off information with the best fluency I've ever heard out of her!
This student's appearance was one of those moments you dream of! She usually avoids all speaking activities and actually swore until yesterday that she wasn't going to come, but other students' enthusiasm won her over!
This beginner student from Uzbekistan was extremely shy, but she brought such amazing artifacts that most of my other students said her table was one of their favorites. Again, it was simply incredible that she came out to share!
This student and her cousin wowed everyone with their beautiful Bengali clothing, in addition to the passion with which they shared their information (and food). 
After two frenzied hours of sharing and learning, a small group of students unwound in my classroom, reliving their experience and continuing to tell stories as we packed up supplies and cleaned up the chaos of the past few days. Flushed cheeks, heavy eyelids, deep breaths. Exhausted but proud. Home.

Glancing around the room, K. summed it up best. "I wish that we would always remember this day, right now... with everyone so happy."


  1. I'm so glad you were there to take pictures to preserve this day. Just seeing the displays is awesome, but having the students to tell must have been over the top.

  2. Jennifer, it just looks awesome. I loved reading all your captions and seeing the array of beautiful sharing. How great this group must be, and how proud they must have felt. Kudoes to them and to you! Book rec! Yes! We Are Latino-Alma Flora Ada - about Latinos, but their stories will touch all of you-beautiful!

  3. So great! I can see their hard work and feel the energy of their learning from here. The photographs are fantastic. What good work you all did together.


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