With our Big class at Homer Plessy, we have been exploring our neighborhoods. We have been thinking and writing about where we live in relation to each other, the sounds of our streets, the buildings that exist around us, and the animals we find. We read Faith Ringold’s story, “Tar Beach” where a young girl flies over her New York neighborhood, which inspired us to fly over our own neighborhoods. Students were encouraged to write about what they might do while flying and where they would go. They then put all these different descriptions together in one:
— Andrea Boll
I live on Arts Street. My house is made of blue wood and white bricks. On my street, there are people, chickens, and a rooster. In my neighborhood, there is the sound of construction: CLACK CLACK CLACK. At night, when I fly over my neighborhood, I fly with the hawks.
I live on 10th Street. My house is made of yellow bricks. On my street there is a dog and dentist office. You can hear the vroom of cars and roars of dogs. At night when I fly over my neighborhood, I eat chicken nuggets and I go to the Superdome. I eat popcorn at the Superdome.
I live on North Villiere. My house is made of wood. My house is yellow. On my street there are houses, streets, stores. You can hear the meowing of kittens and the barks of dogs. At night, I fly over my neighborhood. I want to see the stars and I want to own the stars.
After flying,we decided to go deeper and explore our neighborhood river, the Mississippi. We imagined we lived in a submarine deep in its waters and discussed what it might be like: what we saw, what we might do all day, and what we dream about. To get some ideas, we listened to the song “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles. Students then wrote about it:
In my submarine underneath the Mississippi, I see mermaids. I find new creatures. My favorite thing to do is eat. At night, I dream about playing with mermaids.
In my submarine at the bottom of the Mississippi, I see alligators and sea serpents. I discover flying pigs with golden wings. At night, I dream about the droplets of flying pigs.
We then interviewed some younger students (4-5years old) what about their lives if they lived in a submarine in at the bottom of the Mississippi. Later, Big Class put their answers in more of a a story-like format and read the stories back to them:
In his submarine at the bottom of the Mississippi, Kion sees sea monsters and an octopus. He plays with his toys. At night, he dreams about his mama. (interviewed by Drucilla)
In her submarine at the bottom of the Mississippi, Odessa sees jellyfish. She discovers alligators, fish, and sharks. At night, she dreams about an alligator kissing her.
(interviewed by Ajaah)
In her submarine at the bottom of the Mississippi, Ty’nae sees lizards. Her favorite thing to do is comb her hair. She dreams about beaucoup submarines.
(interview by Latroy)