Teen Life Project

In addition to our poetry unit this quarter, we are going to begin an exciting project about being a teenager in the 21st century. We will actually meld poerty into this project and share our view of the world and our place in it using poetry as our tool.

The Purpose:

The purpose of this project is to have teenagers from different locations around the globe exchange their thoughts and perceptions of what their lives are like. By viewing, reading, and listening to the perspectives of others from around the globe, they will gain a greater perception of the similarities and differences of people’s lives around the world. This is not an international project where kids learn about the holidays, foods, etc, of another nation. We want to dig deeper, to have you dig, read, write, etc. We want you to explore issues, and work intensely to gain a clearer understanding of concerns that people have in a global world.

In this project you will choose an issue that you feel is important to your life and future, develop your understanding of it, and your understanding of international opinion about it, produce a poetic digital representation of your understanding, and finally share and discuss your experiences with others.
We’ll be working with grade seven and eight students from three other schools who are doing versions of this same project. One school is in Canada, another in the United States, and the third is another international school in Colombia!

The central questions, the ones your project answers, are:

  • What are the central issues and concerns that people my age, in international communities, have about their lives, about their futures, or about the issues that are facing the world?
  • How do I relate to these issues?
  • How are these issues similar and different from other people my age in different places around the world?
  • What is it like to be ____ (your age) in ____________ (an international community)

Your assignment is to produce a poetic digital representation of your understanding of these issues. (This concept will be explained in detail in the coming weeks.) By digital, I mean that it has to be able to be put up on the internet. You could make a video that we would post to your blog for other students to watch. You might make a podcast – an mp3 file. You could create a photo essay – a collection of photographs and poems. Your creativity is the limit.

Along the way, you will create a network of people whose ideas will support the development of your understanding of your issue. These will be students from our school, the schools we are working with, and the general public.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Like the saying, a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. It’s time to take that first step, which is to introduce yourself on your blog. Other students will use your introduction to connect with people who share similar interests.

Here are some ideas to help get your introduction going:

Who are you? How old are you? What’s your life like living in where you live? What issues are you interested in? You are introducing yourself to the group of students in other countries who will be working on this project with you. You can also try and think about and answer some of the questions raised on our planning wiki. I will give you the password in class, so you can add questions as well. Please remember our school rules about releasing personal information. I understand the difficulty of introducing yourself and sharing personal information, but not being able to give out certain details. I trust that you will be able to do this. Good luck!

21 thoughts on “Teen Life Project

  1. This is the kind of things that I would like to do in MY english class, but thats not the things we do. I want YOU to teach me. This seems like a really good assignment to do. My english class isn’t even called ENGLISH. its called RLA, which stands for READING LANGUAGE ARTS. It isn’t english, its a class that we read and other stuff. Right now we are learning about advertising, I mean why would you learn that in ENGLISH!!! Can I come back to your class please!!?!?!?!?!?



  2. Come on Taylor let’s be open-minded here. I appreciate your enthusiasm for my class, but give this new class a shot. After all isn’t English class simply a place where we, “read and other stuff.” As for the advertising section, I am sure it is important. That’s the beauty of English you can really teach or learn about anything and tie it to reading and writing.

    Like I said I love the fact that you liked my class so much. Stay tuned here on the blog and feel free to participate when you have time.

  3. Mr R! I have a question.. A girl in columbia commented on mine and I was going to comment them back but to comment on their blog, you need to register google/blogger thing. What can I do?


  4. Hey Steve

    Great question. To comment on a blogger page you simply choose an identity and pick other. Then you put in your name and your blog address. It should let you comment after that. Although I was looking at your blog and I don’t think that Naty B. is a part of this project.

    Good luck!

  5. Well.. I have a question about the poems we have to write for homework but since you did not post anything about poetry, I am commenting on this one…
    um.. I don’t understand how people just write lines after another,I just don’t know how to write poems! In-class, I couldn’t even write a word on few people’s papers because I had no idea what to write, something that was appropriate and something that made sense to continue with. This is just Hard for me…

  6. Sarah, you are probably not the only one having a hard time with this. Relax. We are going to learn how to do this as a group. In the meantime, don’t worry too much about trying to sound poetic, or making sense, and don’t try too hard. Simply let the words spill from your pen. We will add and subtract later. For now, simply look at the lines from class and let your mind do the writing without you trying to steer so hard. Anything can be a poem, if you look at it from a different angle. This advice goes for all of you having a hard time. No one is writing a poem at this point; we are simply brainstorming and writing first drafts of things that may or may not evolve into poems.

    Let’s look at the poetry of your earlier comment:

    I have questions
    about poems
    but since you do not talk about poetry,
    I am commenting…
    um… I don’t understand:
    (how people just write lines after line)

    I just don’t know how to write.
    I can’t even write one word
    I have no idea what to write.
    Something appropriate?
    Something that makes sense?

    to continue:
    This is hard for me…

  7. Hey Mr. R, I’m trying to comment on Paulina’s Blogger page at http://paulina12345.blogspot.com, but it doesn’t come up with a choice of “other”. It says, “This blog does not allow anonymous comments”. I have to either give a Google or Blogger account. What should I do?

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  13. Dear Jabiz,
    What a wonderful job you are doing with our children. Thank you and keep up the great work. I realise (no actually I probably don’t) it has been a huge amount of time, effort and dedication to get this “State of the Arts” idea up and running. Aren’t we lucky at MKIS to have you making such an impact.
    Thanks again Melanie

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  15. I am very impressed with what you are doing here with 8th graders. Do you have a link that gives the history of your online blogging projects? Any advice or tips? I am just beginning to learn about and hopefully use this in my classes. http://mculbert.edublogs.org/

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