I am very excited to begin the second year of my Literacy to Life program. For this program, I am working with four other teachers in a 4th grade classroom at Galindo Elementary in South Austin. We will be working with the students for eight weeks using drama as a tool to get them excited about writing. At the end of the eight weeks we are going to take their stories and hire 15 professional actors to perform their stories for their whole school. The program is based on a Chicago program called Barrel of Monkeys that has been teaching creative writing in underserved Chicago schools for the past 11 years. There was a great article written about them in last week’s Chicago tribune:
I really love this program because it honors the creativity and ideas of young people. They also walk away from the program with a more positive view of themselves as a writer. We teach them to work together and repeat the mantra, “Every idea is a good idea.” Each semester, we will offer this program for free to a Title I school (where half or more of the student population is below the poverty line).