About Erin

Deputy Editor, Southern Living Magazine. Digital and social media girl who learned everything with a pen and a reporter's notebook. Mom. Florida native celebrating all things kitsch, accidental Birminghamian. Is probably getting back from somewhere or heading somewhere. Knows: Elvis, journalism, pop culture, Southern artisans and emerging neighborhoods, vintage clothes, pugs, Yacht Rock. 

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Tuesday
Jan312012

Delicious Storytelling 

I had the great pleasure of spending the early morning with fourth and fifth graders at Nate's School, where I'm leading a class called "Delicious Storytelling." It's a four-part class, part of an enrichment curriculum. (The program is impressive -- all the kids in the school -- K-5 -- pick a special class full of fun and tucked in learning. Among the offerings, "Building Castles," "Yoga," "Container Gardening," and "Robotics." Community volunteers -- from the bus driver who has a pilot's license ("Aeronautics") to the Publix bakery staff ("Cake Decorating 101") lead the classes, which gives all kids, regardless of their strengths and weaknesses the ability to engage in fun, experiential learning.

My class, inspired by the work of Birmingham's Desert Island Supply Company, uses food as a way to explore creativity. Or should I say my "village's" class. Amy and Lindsey were kind enough to step in and teach the first two sessions for me because I was on the road. And today my colleague Ralph joined us to wow the kids with his photography. (They were particularly impressed by his gear. The photographers always get all the attention!)

I was amazed at how well they followed instructions as I gave them writing prompts based around Valentine goodies:

Then Ralph took their photos with their Valentine stories, so they could see how the whole process unfolds. (OK, there were no copy editors or photo editors or stylists. That will be for the 201 class. For now, we're focusing on the pure fun of storytelling.)

As always, I learned more from the kids than they learned from me. Things like:

The best part about writing about food is eating the food, aka "When Do We Get To Eat The Cupcakes?"

It's fun to switch name tags with your friends and pretend you are someone else. (This is a big thing for them to do and makes them laugh.)

Telling stories and taking photos can be pure joy. I sort of already knew that, but it's good to be reminded by fourth graders. Thanks guys.

Related Links:

DISCO: Superstar Onion 

Reader Comments (3)

This looks like it was a good time! Isn't it amazing how you leave there feeling better about the world?
February 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy B
They are doing something intresting. Nice post
February 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHigh heel Shoes
I am the enrichment specialist at Nate's school. The opportunity that has been implemented by Erin for these children has provided students that share the same interest with the opportunity to solve problems, analyze materials, and learn from real - life experiences. Delicious Storytelling is not just a class for these students but a life-time experinece that they will never forget.
Erin and Ralph, I commend you both for what you have done to ecourage and excite children about learning and education. With the help and dedication of role models like you
our schools and children can be the best and brightest in Alabama. Thank you for your dedication to education, children and creativity!
February 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTraci Knight Ingleright

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