Session 1: Identity & Storytelling

Happy birthday, Making Waves! Today we turned one and kicked off our third semester. We have five students in the program this semester, but two missed our first meeting because of True/False, which I think is the worthiest reason to miss a meeting. 

We stared our first session with introductions, and I asked each student why they chose to be a part of the program. Most of them got involved because they know past students, and thought it sounded cool. I also made them answer a stupid ice breaker question and they very kindly humored me, which I thought was nice. All our students are women (even though we opened up the program to all genders this semester) and most of them are associated with EEE, the RBHS gifted program. In those ways, they're similar to the makeup of our past student groups. 

It was super weird to lead a meeting without Michaela (who is studying abroad and living the dream in Barcelona, Spain). I kept saying "we" when clearly I was the only person standing there, and I talked too much and it felt more like a lecture and less like a conversation, so I'm going to work on that. 

We went through the Making Waves origin story (who I am, why we're here, what you're actually getting yourself into), and we listened to Glynn Washington's This Is Radio segment, which is now a Making Waves first session tradition. I love it so much. Then we talked about oral histories and the history and importance of audio stoytelling. Each student told a story that was important to them or to their family. 

We talked about the student work from the past two semesters (they had to listen to at least three stories before our first meeting), and we listened to another Making Waves staple, Overcoming the Insult of 'Acting White' from the MPR Young Reporters series. 

They all have copies of Out on the Wire this semester (thanks, grant money), so they're reading the first chapter (Amuse Yourself: Ideas) for next time. I also have them listening to 21 Chump Street from This American Life, because it's pretty short and it's about teenagers and its hilarious and the character development is on point. 

My main goal for the semester is to improve the tools I give them to help create great stories. I want to be more intentional and direct in my teaching (although I didn't really do that today, I was a little over-excited and was kind of bouncing all over the place). I want them to start on their feature stories earlier (some feedback from last semester was that they wanted us to be stricter on deadlines and hold them more accountable). I also want them to be more creative than the past two semesters, and play more with untraditional storytelling techniques and sound design. For them to do that, though, I have to learn how to do that first. I also have to learn how to teach that. I'm working on it.