Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Cilantro Method - strategies to teach

Teaching creative writing and creative learning and resources, tips by Juan Felipe Herrera at Fresno State on June 29, 2016. Fresno is the capital of poetry in the US.

Our Matra:

C - Cultura
I - Inspiration
L - Literature of and for the people
A - Assertive Creativity / Many forms and styles
N - Network / Small Groups / Virtual / Community & Global & Library of Congress / Laureate Lab
T - Telling our story / Community and Binational and International
R - Radical new thinking / Experimenting always
O - Oxygen, laughter, breathing exercises every 15 minutes

  • Laureate Lab - Fresno State / September Inaugural - Brand new resource (paper structures, murals with words, etc)
  • Library of Congress: Various Divisions: House of color, prints and photographs, the technical adventures of Catalina Neon (super hero) - Juan will write the first chapter, everyone will write other chapters.
  • Bilingualit Rising! bilingual version of Get Lit Rising. There is a bilingual element to this book.
  • Fresno Youth Laureate
  • Fresno Laureate - Lee Herrick - - can come to your school
  • Mai Der Vang (Walt Whitman Winner) Fresno  - Hmong community, can come to school -
  • LA Youth Laureates - will come out -!yplla/cylz
  • Oakland Youth Laureates -
  • Amanda Gorman - LA Youth Laureate / previous - neighborhood cam poem - -
  • LA Laureate - Luis Rodriguez will come out - grew up in the gang world -
  • California Poetry in the Schools / SF -
  • Poets and writers
  • CAL Humanities - can fund activities -
  • California Arts Council -
Explore these books and presses:
  • Get Lit Rising / new book - coming out soon - Spoken word classic - teenagers responding to poems and what is going on in their lives - Beyond Words Press -
  • Francisco Jimenez Series (YA) -
  • Please excuse  this poem / published -
  • Naomi Shihab Nye's books -
  • An American Hero: Shiro Kashino -
  • Lee and Low Publishers -
  • University of Arizona Press / Chican@Latino@ and native american series -
  • Heyday Books - Oakland -
Notes for today:

Before we begin: the five magic words - You have a beautiful voice

Movement is the key to being successful as a teacher.
Use a lot of calling out in the classroom so students can use their voices.
The brain likes oxygen. Movement helps bring oxygen to the brain.

Tapping Ten doors:
Get into a tortilla (make a large circle) Introduce yourself to someone in the circle and move to another part of the circle.

Masa ball Theater:
Another circle like the tortilla, but this one is smaller. Someone (the director) comes to the circle and places everyone in the masa ball in various poses. Students write a short story about the masa ball.

Students can get into a masa ball (less than half of the class). Teacher gives the students a topic either directly to the masa ball students or gives it to the audience students to tell the masa ball students and the masa ball students act it out. Teacher says to freeze and the audience does a free write about what the students structure looks like. Tell a story.

Student can use one of their five senses when writing descriptions.

Salmon Run: (approximately 15-20 minutes)
create two lines facing each other
Students can whisper or talk loud, either is fine
everyone has a pen and paper
'We are the salmon runners'
we are going to learn how to write a poem without having to write a poem
all of us in the salmon run is going to write and speak at the same time
create a poem without having to write a poem
whether we like or hate writing a poem
the students are going to talk to each other non stop
one student at a time will walk down the middle and write down everything they hear
extreme listening, extreme writing while we are moving
you can give the students a topic or concept to talk about
this could be a review before a test
the comments they write down can be added to their blog
Students then read what they wrote down going through the salmon run
Students may add words to fill it out a bit and make more sense
  1. Spoken word - The new IT!
  2. The Mariachi Phenomenon - everyone loves it 
  3. Aztec Renaissance 2 - learn and use Nahuatl in your experiments
  4. The presence project - show our faces and our words
  5. Cultural Drift - our communities have many talents to share
  6. The new MFA and groups: diversity movement of artists and writers
  7. Super abilities: many likes - art, acting, dance, computers, painting, etc
  8. Verbal Olympics - games for the students that want to move
  9. Libros & Familias - bringing in the families
  10. The Biggy: violence and friendship - the issues of our new generation
Exercises for Starters:
Movement / Music / Art / Visualization / Group / Voice / Performance
  1. Make a book - one piece of paper - six pages - fold it in half and then fold it in half again. Now it is a quarter of the size of that piece of paer. Fold it in half again. Open it. There are eight rectangles in the paper. Tear the paper in the middle down to the fold. Now fold it in a way to make the book. (pictures will come). Can be used to write about concepts. Use pictures and words. 
  2. The gauntlet - everyone writes without effort - also known as the salmon run.
  3. the Muhammad Ali underwater boxing writing technique
  4. Writing on newspapers and magazines
  5. El Tendedero / writing in groups, with word groups / yarn / space / movement
  6. headphone poems
  7. perform poems
What if we wrote on cardboard? The students are so use to seeing paper. They have been given paper their entire school career. But cardboard is different. It is different than paper so it can get the attention that the old fashion worksheets don't. They are use to worksheets. This would be excellent for pre-paper writing to gather ideas. Use different sizes, give to individuals, give to groups, etc

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