The Many Faces of Home: BLTN Youth Journal to be Launched

Dec 15th, 2014 | By | Category: BLTN Global, BLTN Teachers, Fall 2014
BentonFaceLaura Benton
English Teacher
Woodford County High School, Versailles, KY
BLSE 2013, 2014, funded by the C. E. and S. Foundation

The Bread Loaf Youth Journal: The Many Faces of Home will be a literary magazine designed, written, and edited by Woodford and Jessamine County High School students. Together they will design the website, write submissions (poetry, fiction, creative-nonfiction, art, and media arts), take submissions, and edit the content. This website will have three issues in the 2014-15 school year, all of them addressing the theme of home. Two of these issues will be comprised of student work from Woodford and Jessamine County; the other issue (the spotlight issue) will feature work from the College Classique Feminin school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This journal will exist as a fully functional website, accessible to anyone on computer, tablet, or phone.

For this project, students from Woodford and Jessamine County High Schools will create a collaborative literary journal under the title of The Bread Loaf Youth Journal: The Many Faces of Home. The students in my English elective Art, Design and Voice class will utilize a full-time computer lab and Adobe InDesign software. With these resources, they will design the visual elements of a website. In collaboration with students from Jessamine County (Matthew Haughton’s 11th grade English class), they will create the website and its basic features. Once the site has been created, students from both classes will communicate with each other (Google Docs/Drive/Hangouts) to set up submission guidelines for poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, academic papers, art, and digital/media. Students from these classes will submit their creative work and enlist submissions from their school peers.

Once students have set up the guidelines and received an adequate number of submissions, they will decide on the best pieces from both schools. Students will then write a critique for all the submitted work and edit the selected pieces. They will send an email to students whose work has been selected, asking for final editing approval.

The final issue of the journal will be a spotlight edition, featuring students from the Collège Classique Féminin school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. These students will review the first two issues and send our feedback to Kentucky. They will ask questions, discussing their favorite pieces. Students from Haiti will then send their own submissions for editing. Again, all three school groups will collaborate on the writing and communicate or comment on their pieces through email, google docs/drive.

Throughout this process, students will be asked to reflect (both together and separately) on what they have learned. In a message board style they will write about the joys and pains of the project. As a teacher, I feel it is important that we build in time for them to fully analyze this process, allowing it to fully contribute to their academic development.

The goal of this project is to create a fully functional literary journal that publishes three issues per year, two from the host schools and one from a spotlight community. We plan to have the website go live with the first issue in January, followed by the second issue in March.

It is my plan to continue this project under the same website, adopting a new theme each year.

An update from Chantal Kenol-Desmornes:

School of English students Chantal Kenol Desmornes and Mary Clay discuss a project at Middlebury College's Breadloaf Campus, Summer 2012One of the many opportunities the ABL international conference in Port-au-Prince in August provided was to reinforce the network of Haitian teachers who had the chance to hear about Bread Loaf and its revolutionary ideas about writing and youth education. At the conference, I presented the on-line journal and the possibility of having an issue dedicated to the writings of Haitian students about the place they call home. Many teachers were enthusiastic about the project and interested in joining. I know that many of them have been using the writing prompts and techniques they learned at the August conference to foster students’ expression and writings. So, we are definitely on for that spotlight issue about Haiti. The difference from the initial project is that there won’t be only writings from my school, Collège Classique Féminin, but also those of students from at least two other schools (Bridge Academy and Exceptional Learners) as well as those from another young women’s writing group who took part in the students’ writing workshop organized during the conference and is led by our very own ABL 2012 Magalie Boyer. Their writings are simply amazing!

One Comment to “The Many Faces of Home: BLTN Youth Journal to be Launched”

  1. Christopher McCurry says:

    As Laura and I discovered last year, nothing can be more formative for a student then the chance for them to explore, with the group of their peers, the world of reading and communicating through literature. This is a natural progression in an increasingly global and digital world. To being with sharing what home means will root the conversation in history and meaning, and as it develops with each group of students, each new theme, each new teacher, so will the dynamic conversation about the world we live in. Very excited to see the fruits of this Youth Journal.

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