HOW THE I BECOMES THE WE
What do magic wolves with supersonic hearing, flying book people and a Medusa whose hair of slithering, signing, snakes all have in common?
They were created in our collaborative storytelling workshop with first, second and third graders from PS 347 The ASL and English Lower School. PS 347 serves deaf and CODA (Children of Deaf Adults) students from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Every day, these children navigate visual, spoken and written language and as such have a unique relationship to literature and literacy.
WE STARTED WITH A WORKSHOP
For three days teaching artists, performers, documentarians and teachers worked together to ignite students’ imaginations, validate their creativity and show them, through action, how much their ideas matter. Students were introduced to the elements that go into creating a story and then generated their own both individually and in collaboration with other classmates.
CREATED AND PERFORMED THE PLAY
Built from elements of the students' stories, and inspired by the PS 347 workshop OV created an original play, How The I Becomes The We for the High Line's Culture Shock Festival in the spring of 2016. The play was translated into and performed in American Sign Language.
AND FINALLY WROTE THE BOOK
We all know books play a crucial and vital role in a child’s development and never more so than when that child is bilingual.
Imagine the burst of pride these children feel when they hold and see stories they created, transformed and dancing across the pages of a book illustrated by Broadway designers and Deaf illustrators. Upon the book's completion, each student received their very own copy of the book. In an instant they had concrete proof that their stories matter, that they matter. Copies of the book were also donated to PS347 to provide inspiration to future generations of students, storytellers, and artists.
Our hope is students will see how a seed of an idea can grow into something magnificent, taking on multiple forms and return home richer for the experience of collaboration.
Front Cover art by Olivia McGiff PS 347 Collage by Lisa Renee Jordan Back Cover art by Jeff Hinchee