In using the countries and cultures we travel through as our place-based educational model, we have read, studied, imitated, been inspired by, and even met writers from around the world. For some, writing and reading have always been a part of their lives, while for others, writing creatively has been a way to step outside of their comfort zones and challenge themselves. Additionally, for half the class English is not their first language. What is presented here is not only work that they can be proud of, but stories that show a mastery of skills and invaluable insight gained from two years of travel.
While living and studying in Japan, we decided to do a “writer’s workshop” unit using Lucy Calkins’s A Guide to the Writing Workshop as inspiration for the writing process and selections from Jay Rubin’s translations of Murakami’s two collections of short stories, “The Elephant Vanishes”, and “After the Quake” as inspiration for the writing itself. Additionally, we were honored to have a chance to speak with Jay Rubin himself who answered questions from our students regarding the translation process and Murakami’s writing. Also, we had a chance to spend a study hall brainstorming in the Satin Doll Jazz Club, a club similar to the one that Murakami owned and wrote in. A quick clip of Fatima sharing her ideas at the club can be seen here. Finally, these stories were paired with selected articles dealing with social issues affecting modern Japan including the Guardian article “Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex?” and AA Gill’s controversial article “Mad in Japan.”
What I am most proud of is the work that these students have done throughout the writing-workshop process. It has been an absolute pleasure to see these stories grow and change as students bravely shared with classmates, accepted compliments and implemented suggestions. The stories you are about to read show a depth of understanding from their time in Japan, a mastery of mood and an attention to detail.
In addition to our 10th grade stories, we are honored to have one guest writer’s addition to our collection. The first story in Snapped, entitled “Constance,” was written by Jon Prentice, a TGS StudentLIFE advisor. Jon runs the student book club and is our onsite technology guru. He recently published Equinox, the first book in his teen fiction series, “Chronicles of Solas,” which can also be found on Amazon.
More information on Jon’s writing and how to purchase his book can be found at jonprenticebooks.com.