This class helps students look at major turning points in their lives using drawing and written forms of self-expression.
How students are doing with their on-going photo and writing, collecting found materials, etc. (this is materials used for final projects on "self-portrayal") - 5 minutes.
Drawing My Life - 1 hour
To draw your autobiography through visual means.
This exercise is useful both as an icebreaker and as a way to get you thinking about where you come from and what is important to you.
Poster board, crayons, magic markers, paint, and other artistic supplies that could be included (feathers, felt, etc.).
Following the exercise, we ran a discussion based on the following questions:
"I found it interesting to attempt to put "my life" on paper, to think of it as something to be drawn with crayons on paper. I was interested in what came out, and with how the rest of the class chose to put their lives on paper."
"Most of the drawings included question marks for the future. I thought that was interesting because I'm used to the idea that the future is a mystery and wouldn't think to express that."
"I thought it was interesting how one person said that my empty box on my poster might be a good thing. When I heard myself actually saying how bad it was for me, it was strange."
Turning Points in My Life - 40 minutes
To help you think about significant events in your life that have shaped your character or destiny.
It is important to take time to consider past events in our lives that have had a major impact on us so that we better understand who we are today. Sometimes we aren't very conscious of those times and when we stop to really examine them, we are surprised by how much impact they have had, especially the painful ones.
"When I was a sophomore in high school, I applied for a program called Governor's School in my state. The program was to learn about education and practice teaching students of all ages, but major component was also to design a plan to make changes in our communities. I decided to design a plan to encourage cultural mixing in my school district weeks planning a multicultural fair that could take place in the fall of the following year: though implementation was optional I decided to implant the project and it changed my life. The diversity fair, as I called it was the first step I took toward a project which seemed impossible which I was learning from all sides - and I made it happen. It gave me a lot of confidence in my leadership abilities, brought me a lot closer to administrators at my school, and whetted my appetite for leadership. Since the, I have always been on the lookout for unconventional leadership opportunities and I have loved being a part of them. Without Governor's School, I'm not sure I would have found this passion so early in life. Even then, I knew it would affect my life extremely and positively."
"Last year my parents told me that, when my grandpa died, my grandma went crazy. Really crazy…not just pushing a shopping cart aimlessly down aisle 2…but unable to function. A woman who had before been as able as he should be for her generation, self sufficient - suddenly turned into a body going through the motions, Barely going through the motions,, of life. So they tried to help but couldn't. So they put her in a hospital. Asylum? Maybe. Rehab clinic? Maybe. But somehow she was supposed to get better, and I was not to know.
Until last year. And when they told me, I was sad. Not in a pathetic, tearful, gasping for air way - but in longing way. Because it hit me how impermanent life is, but also the meaning of lie. If my parents had died before telling me, I never would have known. That story that chapter of my grandmother's life and therefore of my parents and mine, would have gone unlearned. And I know that in the scheme of things, it doesn't matter if my grandma was a nut case for a few years. It does not help discover The Grand Unified Theory - it does not make my dad's days at the office any shorter. But it means something me because of what it represents of how much we lose every day and don't' eve realize it. And part of me thinks this is beautiful, because it means only the most meaningful things remain when all else is lost and we all go through it in our own way. But part of me finds this tragic because we seem to lose more than we are given. And I think of how many people, in my life, alone, have died, and how their stories - from the most banal to the most treasured are gone. I will never know what my grandpa thought the first time he saw my grandma…or his own son, or me. It just hurts because I want to know so very badly - to know where I come from, to know what it was like to live when he was alive. So I can understand why my grandma basically shut down when he died - she didn't just lose her husband, she lost everything he knew, and loved - the way he felt about her, the sound of his voice. There are videotapes and letters, sure, but they can never fill the desire to know and be known. And sitting in the back of my parents 2004 Subaru, soft grey cushioned seats, I thought this as they explained to me why I should call my grandma back in a timely manner when she calls me…and why she wants us to call her when we get home from visiting her to make sure we got home okay. I got home in one piece that night and called her…but was I okay?"
Following the exercise, run a discussion based on the following questions:
"I enjoyed discussing my turning point with another person. I think it helped me realize how similar people can be. I found the connections between the positive and negative interesting as well."
"Having 30 minutes to reflect on what is important to me - something I seldom allow myself the luxury of doing."
"I liked how it was personal without really "exposing" anyone. Using themes to describe our turning points instead of just narrating the stories was really nice."
"I liked the reflection on our turning points...it gave me the opportunity to really think about life-changing events."