Marcos Diary Entry 3-19-15: X-Men Club After School Program Ends, New Music Based Ones Begin Next Week

19 Mar
"Chum Chum " paper today and classic X-Men story.

“Chum Chum ” paper today and classic X-Men story.

 

Last week I presented a short film to staff and parents that explained what my X-Club was all about and what the students got out of it.  I’d love to show it here but there is a lot of red tape when it comes to showing this sort of stuff.  I can however, post some of our work and talk a bit about the experience.

X-Men Encyclopedia

X-Men Encyclopedia

My original intention in starting this club was to use The X-Men as a vehicle to foster creativity while creating an opportunity to shine some much needed light on important themes like inequality, racism, tolerance, bigotry and what it means to be different.  I felt like the mutant characters of the X-Men universe where perfect for this.   To some degree I was successful in this.  I was able to introduce characters who are near and dear to my heart to a large group of young, eager readers.  Each had their favorites, gravitating towards characters who they could relate to the most.  Students where given an X-Men encyclopedia and a fantastic award wining X-Men graphic novel as text books for the class. The students picked their own code names, powers and created their own origin story.  It was great to see  these kids framing their own life and experiences in a different way.  Some where able to see the beauty and necessity of the hard times as they crafted origin stories for their own characters.  After all, who likes an origin story that is without challenges?

IMG_9946

After the first month of our meet ups it was apparent that we would not be able to get through half of the projects I had in mind for us to complete by the club’s end.  Two 90 minute classes a week was simply not enough to create a class graphic novel, with interwoven stories, original characters and student artwork.  That project was supposed to be our big finale but it was not possible with the time allowed.  So we adjusted.  I presented students with projects that would cater to their own creativity.  They could design their own characters, write short comics, make 3 dimensional paper toys of their original or favorite popular characters, or make masks of their characters.  Eventually, each student would make all three.  It was a good feeling to know that these kids where taking these projects home and working on them after their homework.  They were doing homework for an after school club!

This is a type of excitement that I’m more than familiar with.  I saw a lot of my own tendencies in these kids.  The act of spending most of your day being excited to go home and work on a project that you’re emotionally invested in, is how I spend Monday through Friday.  Coming back the next day, eager to show off what progress you’ve made is also a joy that most of my X-Class found.  That is also a behavior I still exhibit, just ask anyone who works with me or knows me.  I’m always excited to show or talk about what I’m cooking up, hence this blog.

As the club came to a close it became really clear that the students had only wet their appetite to explore their creative potential.  This helped motivate me to go an extra mile, and dig a little deeper when it came to putting my next after school club together.  Since I had a lot of the same students and they all shared a similar interest in music and dance, I wanted to do something different that would challenge them, which brings me to…

“Music Club”.  The unimpressive and very generic title of my 3rd-5th grade club that starts on Monday.  When the students singed up for new clubs I was surprised to learn that this club had not been filled up immediately.  It’s possible that the name didn’t really paint the picture of the vision I had in my head.  So I spent the day explaining / hyping up the class to the students.  Explaining that its really all about music.  Not only would we be learning new Hip Hop choreography, but we would also be making music and performing it.  We will make our own instruments out of ordinary items (like Stomp) and then we would recreate the beats and melodies to some of our favorite songs.  Students would even have the chance to sing  these songs as we dance and play our instruments.  Beat boxing, scratching, rapping and improvisation are all on the table.  So in a way “Music Club” really is an appropriate name but my selling of the club and a name change to “Music Club with Mr. Marcos” ended up getting the rest of those vacant spots filled up!

I’ll update on the progress of this this in the next few weeks!

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out tomorrow post on what I call my “creative renaissance”. That diary entry will cover my own projects and where I am in my own journey.

 

-m

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