Angel Hogan, a Philadelphia-based poet is working with Zafka Christensen and her students at Nueva Esperanza Academy Charter High School as their teaching artist for the LTP Project. As a workshop leader in storytelling at First Person Arts and with experience also at Art Sanctuary, Angel worked with students yesterday on a Thesaurus Brainstorm to begin her activity.
She began by having each student stand, introduce themselves and say “ONE thing that we would not know by looking at you.” She gave an example, introducing and talking about herself and then recited Perkasie Dirt to present the idea that understanding someone may not necessarily mean that they really/truly understand who you are.
A Thesaurus Brainstorm takes eight commonly used words that students would most likely use during a writing exercise about themselves, and as a group, they brainstorm synonyms for these 8 words. The eight words chosen included: Nice, Bad, Like, Good, Great, Fun, Love, and Happy. Below is the list is synonyms that students came up with:
The words on the list, along with a few others, were written on paper and placed in an Inspiration Bag which students pulled 2 words from to write a headline of a story. Imagining themselves as “reporters,” once a headline had been created, students wrote one-paragraph first-person stories describing something interesting or intriguing about the person. What makes them unique? Why are they important to you? In what way do they influence your life?
Next week the students will share their stories, and discuss editing, designing and connecting their stories to a photograph.