walk on.

class pictureOn Wednesday, we had the final session of Walk In My Shoes. It was fun and playful and bittersweet, and culminated (like all the best things) in a party full of food, warmth, and sharing. But before that, we did this exquisite corpse exercise, which was easily the highlight of my day. I’ve edited it lightly for spelling and punctuation, but otherwise this is straight from me and the girls to you.

Once upon a time, there was a storytelling class at OIHS. It was only for girls. They were from different countries, and spoke different languages. They liked to tell their stories, and learn about other people’s stories. Suddenly one day, Ms. Adwoa gave all of us a free camera and all of us were astonished. Also everyone was so sad, because this is our last class and every girl thanked Ms. Adwoa for giving us this wonderful opportunity.

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may i admire you?

The week before Thanksgiving, the girls and I had the pleasure of hosting Laura Brunow Miner in class. Laura is a designer at Pinterest, and as the founder of the fantastic Pictory Mag knows a thing or two about creating photo stories.

We looked at Jane Justice Leibrock’s wonderful blog May I Admire You?, to get a feel for what a street fashion interview can be. Then we talked about the parts of ourselves that are visible in the clothes that we wear, and how adornment can tell its own story. I loved the details that emerged: a favorite color, a style of dress that would have been frowned upon in one’s home country. Clothing that shows our travels, our senses of humor, and the components of our daily lives (like Laura, mom to a newborn and a toddler, needing to wear shirts or dresses that button down the front while she’s still breastfeeding).

She taught the girls camera technique and some tricks to get great shots, and we reviewed interview techniques and generated questions that would help us get at a story. Then we sent the girls and their cameras out into the world. We’d hoped to do this out on Telegraph Avenue (Humans of Temescal, anyone?), but the first rainy day in weeks meant that busting the drought took precedence over the amazing mustache photos we would have gotten outside the Temescal Alley Barber Shop in the last weeks of November).

So we stayed on campus – take a gander at Humans of OIHS instead! They came back with some great shots; a sampling of my favorites are below. More details on the stories behind them will be coming this week; when those are finished, you can keep up with them under the photo tag here.

As ever, as always – these girls crack me up and astonish me with ease. The stories they gathered about their classmates will be as unique as the students themselves. In the meantime, they say a picture’s worth a thousand words: enjoy.


listening to the wind.

A couple weeks back, we were lucky enough to have Teresa Chin (pictured) and Cliff Lee of Youth Radio join us in the classroom for a session on interviewing techniques. With excellent mic handling skills (and a great deal of giggling), the girls interviewed each other about their lives and what was important to them. You can catch those files, as well as their homework for the day, in separate posts under the “radio” tag.

I also asked the girls to write a piece to share the sound of home for them. It could be anything – their alarm clock in the morning, their parents cooking a meal, the sound of wind through a particular tree outside their window. (We all got super into the sounds you can take in with a good recorder when the headphone volume is turned all the way up – wind can be absolutely gorgeous. Who knew?)

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/30420396@N03/4008401843/Here it is, the eve of this project’s beginning. After all the meetings to source a site/partner institution, pitch development, crowdfunding, collaboration with co-teachers, application gathering, site design and wrangling, and my very first visits to a high school lunch room since 2002.

I’m finalizing curricula and planning my outfit for tomorrow (shoes especially) and just sitting in incredible gratitude and a little bit of awe.

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