Monday, June 23, 2014

Sci-Fi Exploration (workshop for tweens ) / OR: How I learned that jumping is a super power

Wow! I can't believe its been a year since my last blog post, which was from the Allied Media Conference (AMC) 2013. But this post ties right in where we left off, from one of the potentially glorious tips: Science fiction geeks! How about creating a sci-fi workshop for tweens/young teens with accessible language? Plans started in the airport flying home to Baltimore, when I happened to meet Emil Rudicell from Dinah Press. Emil committed to making it happen this year:


SCI-FI EXPLORATION: "Do you want to change the ending? Do you make your own worlds, superpowers, and fantastical futures and pasts? Want to? This workshop is for young folks – around 9-14 years old – to share and create sci-fi and fantasy stories. We will make zines, comics, or other story guides, and start to develop a young adult reader."


A workshop especially for tweens 

As a bottomliner of the Kids, Caregivers, and Community Practice Space I introduced the workshop by saying that this was the one specific workshop for tweens in the kids practice space; and that there was a group of friends who had grown from children into young teens at the AMC, who were into sci-fi, that inspired this workshop to happen but they were not in attendance this year. We designed this workshop to create a space for tweens to meet each other, because we know sometimes this age group gets tired of being with younger children and older teens/adults, as well as going to radical activities w/ their parents. There is not a lot of "tweens" at the AMC & it would be good to have a space to meet each other. 

Emil started by asking us about where we come from and the things we like. To exaggerate these qualities into super powers. We discussed science fiction and ways it was like our own life; and how we could change time-lines and write our own stories.

It was Panda's first year at the AMC and they were 8. They had road-tripped for over 24 hours from Utah and this was their first workshop. It was a nice calm space after such a long trip. Argus was 13 & knew a lot about shape-shifting and astral projection because of the healers in their family. They were also a comic illustrator. (P.S. I'm using our time travel code names and gender neutral pronouns but I don't remember what pronouns the kids used)

    Emil led us in a lot of active imagining

We jumped over Mount Everest. I'm not that good of a jumper so I was scared. I imagined Mount Everest as very small since I know I can't jump that far. Argus said: "you know jumping is a kind of super power. rocks can't jump." We would turn around two times and then turn into a mythical creature. We also turned into animals. We would walk around the room and move in our new forms. I totally knew that Panda was Panda before they ever told us that! Emil told us that we could time travel into the past or future by turning around two times and then imagining that we were there. Time travel is very noisy. We all grabbed markers so we could communicate with each other and tell each other what we saw. It was really cool.

Then we made a mini zine 

We read them with each other. I was really impressed that Panda could read my messy handwriting but they didn't choose to share their zine with the group. Thats OK - you don't have to! This is Emil's zine below.

After that we brainstormed titles for the Awesome stuff list 

AWESOME STUFF: Sci-Fi Tween Reader:

(click on link above for list)

I brainstormed Coraline, although I couldn't remember the name of the movie at first. Argus and Panda kept going back and forth with ideas, saying "Oh Yea!" and "I love that too!" I was unfamiliar with most of the things they said. They really loved Dr. Who (I do too) and went through a whole bunch of Dr. Who References. I made a Star Trek reference but they didn't know it, never watched Star Trek. Emil translated for us through our generational differences. 

I was really glad I got to help with this workshop, it was a lot of fun 

We made new friends; another generation of tweens may meet up again next year. I talked with Panda the next day, and they said they had thought the AMC might not have any workshops for them, but that wasn't the case, they liked it! And asked if I had seen Argus that day. I hadn't. But I said, I bet if you don't see them later you might bump into them again a few years. And we both smiled. Its a good idea to have some workshops specifically for tweens and this workshop felt like a success even though only two people came, that was kind of great because they both had big imaginations which helped fill the room. 

thank you Emil!

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