Monthly Archives: March 2018

Raising Voices, March For Our Lives

ProwarvsYouthSaturday, March 24th students and their families will participate in March For Our Lives to demand safety and an end to gun violence and mass shootings in schools. It is a demonstration created and organized by #NeverAgain, a group of students who survived the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Students are marching across the country and at the Capitol to make sure their voices are heard. See the link below to find a March For Our Lives location near you.

As an advocate for children’s and youth’s voices being expressed and heard I wanted to remind us all to participate in some way. This event also made me think of the courage of Sandy Hook Mom, Scarlett Lewis. I watched a video by Scarlett Lewis who lost her son Jesse in the Sandy Hook School shootings. She started the “Choose Love” social emotional learning program to help prevent more tragedies like this one.

This from the Jesse Lewis Choose Love website: “The Choose Love Enrichment Program™ is a free, downloadablepre-K through 12th grade, evidence-based social and emotional (SEL) classroom program teaching children how to choose love in any circumstance. The program focuses on four important character values – Courage, Gratitude, Forgiveness and Compassion in Action – which cultivates optimism, resilience and personal responsibility.” Check the link below. There are many resources at her website, including a program for Choose Love at Home. The Choose Love program also uses a tapping technique for emotional healing and change. You can learn about the Tapping Solution at the website link, also below.

After the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shootings in Broward County, Florida, many people are participating in the recovery and healing process. Internationally known trauma expert, Dr. Lori Leyden and her Trauma Healing and Resiliency Team from Sandy Hook, CT headed to Parkland, FL at the beginning of March and offered rapid relief trauma healing sessions for those affected by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting tragedy. They also provided training for professionals and community leaders in charge of the recovery effort. See the link below for more information about Dr. Lori Leyden’s work.

Participating in the March for Our Lives is one way to have voice around gun violence in schools. Whether you and your family or students can or can’t attend the March for Our Lives, you can participate in other ways. Here’s an idea.

March for Our Lives Challenge: Talk about the March for Our Lives with your children or students and write a story together, or individually that expresses your and their feelings around gun violence in schools. You can do this in short story format or in comic panels.

Photo via creativecommons.org: photo by Charles Hutchins, Pro-war vs Youth

Links:

March For Our Lives closest to you: marchforourlives.com

The Tapping Solution (scroll down their page to see the technique steps):

https://www.thetappingsolution.com/what-is-eft-tapping/

Dr. Lori Leyden’s website: https://www.createglobalhealing.org/programs/project-light-parkland/

Jesse Lewis Choose Love:

https://www.jesselewischooselove.org/about-us/

https://www.jesselewischooselove.org/choose-love-home/

https://www.jesselewischooselove.org/choose-love-enrichment-program-at-a-glance/

 

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Improving Children’s Writing, Genre to Genre

One way to help children improve their writing is to write in different genres. I learned to write short stories in Junior High and High School. I learned how to write radio and television scripts as well as commercials in a technical school. I continued to learn how to write visually, including comics through taking courses, reading and writing.

When I started teaching Creative Writing as an artist in the classrooms in Canada, I used short story, and art through the creation of Story Cloths, stories drawn onto cloth in panels. One could argue that was the creation of my earliest comic panels.

It wasn’t until last year that I began teaching children how to write a play from their short story, or how to turn their comic into a play. Creating play and comic script templates for them really helped them have structure, but mostly it was through reading scripts and stories and then writing their own with my direction and feedback that helped them to learn how to write from one genre to another. Sharing their stories with their peers encouraged them to write more stories, whether it was to improve upon their writing because of the feedback they were getting, or because they and their friends were enjoying reading what they wrote so much.

Genre to genre writing is a process of self discovery for the writer, young or old. You learn about your story, about your characters. Writing in a different genres can give you a fresh perspective on your story. It can create momentum for the story to be completed, and it can be a lot of fun.

Three of my students collaborated on a series of stories around a character they invented called Epic Man. The character was funny and well-developed. They had an easier time drawing out the story in comic panels. I had to encourage them to transcribe the story into a play, and helped them with the process. They created a Reader’s Theater script out of it, and have continued to write sequels in their spare time.

Genre to Genre Story Challenge:

Whatever genre you normally write in, say short story, try a different genre. Perhaps writing a theater play script would be easy. Start with a short story and script it out in a play. There are plenty of examples of folktales turned into Reader’s Theater Plays. Here’s a link for ideas: http://www.aaronshep.com/rt/RTE.html. Lastly, take your theater script and draw four comic panels complete with word bubbles. Here is a link for free comic panel templates: https://www.printablepaper.net/category/comics.

And above all have fun!

Cheers!

Vlatka

Copyright © 2018, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

 

Sharing Our Stories

3078527271_0ffb649934_zSharing our stories in families, in classrooms, in our community can empower us and help us to deal with personal and national or global challenges. After the recent Santa Barbara Fires and Montecito Mudslides, I attended a workshop where we shared our experiences. In the process of listening to others express their feelings in a safe, supportive environment, I allowed myself to grieve and cry. Following the expression was a space for integration and allowing new possibilities to open. In a span of a few hours a transformation occurred, and I felt the healing power of sharing stories with each other.

I have been thinking about how we can engage the stories that need to be both expressed and heard in our own personal lives and in our communities. Parents having discussions with their children, workshops in your community, teachers discussing current issues of concern in classrooms are all possible ways to make start the dialogue.

I also observe that when I am out and about running errands or doing business that I often have an opportunity to speak with someone and listen more deeply to what they are saying. What is going on in their lives right now? What is impacting them? Is it rules that aren’t working? Is it the concern of a loved one’s or pets health? Is it the loss of their home, or the fear of it? Is it the Florida school shooting? Maybe the story they share is full of hope and expectation instead. Maybe the story is an opportunity to be more understanding with someone else’s perspective.

How can we be more attentive to our own stories, and the stories of others? Sometimes it only takes a few minutes of listening, and there can be a shift in the person telling the story. Maybe they are more lighter, optimistic, or hopeful. Maybe they are open to another perspective or possibility they didn’t consider. I wonder.

Sharing Story Challenge: Be aware of the stories that need to be expressed and heard today. Challenge yourself to be patient, and listen more deeply. That act of listening and being heard can be a gift you give yourself and another today.

Copyright © 2018, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

Photo credit: Image of Mount Rushmore is from Frickr Creative Commons uploaded by trungson