Dear families and teachers,

Happy spring break! We want to update you on what Story Lab students have been doing this March.

Elementary school students went on a scavenger hunt in the Island Institute. They deciphered strange clues (“Santa has been shipwrecked for Christmas!”) and found images in each of the locations. At the end, students used the images they found to string together a story. At first, they thought the activity was hard because the pictures were so unrelated to each other, but after thinking for a while they were all able to make stories out of the disparate images – way to go, team! Lena and Jasmine went above and beyond and turned their image-stories into fashionable belts.

Middle school students continued to work hard on their novels! They spent time writing and sharing the work they did this week. They also did a scavenger hunt in the Island Institute, which involved everything from finding a phrase in a foreign language in a book to playing a Donna Summer vinyl. BLAST students read a surrealist poem “The Verb to Be” and wrote their own rambling prose-poems. They did an awesome job!

High school students did a warmup that involved reinventing cliché similes and metaphors. We changed “blind as a bat” to “blind as a fish,” “loud as thunder” to “loud as a beaver,” and much more!  Then we wrote letters to ourselves 10 years from now. We got very into them – 40 minutes of nonstop writing in silence, and it wasn’t enough time! As it happens with personal correspondence, no one wanted to read those aloud. We decided to seal them in envelopes at home instead.

The SEER School students began writing the text of their Anansi story. It will be called “Eric and the Stinky Rotten Fish,” about a bald eagle who plays tricks on other local wild species to take their possessions. The school had an hour-long discussion about how to name the protagonist. Students thought carefully about how the eagle’s name would reflect on SEER School, how the name would affect the student playing the eagle in the Readers’ Theater, and what name would be most aesthetically pleasing. Students put forward arguments in favor of certain names and voted on the name Eric. I was proud to be teaching these high-level thinkers and emotionally sensitive children, who engaged in open debate and were fair and thoughtful in their questions to each other. 

Finally, our students at Pacific High are making street art pieces for an Art Walk taking place at the Lutheran Church on April 1! Last week, we defined what street art is, based on our own experiences and on examples online. Then we designed punchy art pieces. Some students wanted to consider world peace and corruption in the justice system; others put their pencils to the page and let the design emerge spontaneously from playing with forms.

Story Lab hosts free, after-school creative writing and storytelling classes to students ages 7-19. Registration is rolling, and all students are welcome! Elementary school sessions meet every other Tuesday 3:00-4:30, middle school every Wednesday 3:30-5:00, and high school every Friday 4:40-6:00. For questions, contact the number above or