Finding Voice

Teaching artist, Ascha Drake, and language arts teacher, Tracee Zyla have been collaborating together at Willow Creek Academy.

The 8th grade class is reading William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.

The book is about a group of boys who are stuck on a deserted island. As they try to govern themselves, their personalities surface and evolve.

Tracee wanted to focus on the character of Piggy, who is the most vulnerable of all of the characters.

He looks one way, but on the inside he is strong and scientifically-minded and capable.

The collaboration was about finding voice, and working with the essential question of,

“How does art and writing help us make sense of the world?”

Large paper sillhouettes were created in Tracee’s classroom.

And then students wrote Just Because poems expressing who they are to the world.

Through their writing, the students worked on breaking down stereotypes and finding strength and confidence through their written words.

These poems were mounted on the backs of the sillhouette panels and hung in the classroom.

Just because I’m mixed doesn’t mean I’m different.
Just because I have green eyes doesn’t mean they’re contacts.
Just because of where I’m from doesn’t mean I won’t go far.
Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I can’t rap.
Just because I have light skin doesn’t mean I’m white.
Just because your grades are better doesn’t mean I’m not smart.
Just because you’re skinny doesn’t mean I’m fat.
Just because she can sing better doesn’t mean I can’t sing.
Just because of what you think won’t make me stop being me.
Just because I laugh in class doesn’t mean I’m not learning.
Just because I’m a model doesn’t mean I have to be skinny.
Just because you don’t like me doesn’t mean I have to feel bad.
Just because I’m pretty doesn’t mean you have to hate me.
Just because I talk fast doesn’t mean I have to talk slow for you.
Just because I’m on Face Book 24/7 can’t mean I have a problem.
Just because I don’t amuse you doesn’t mean I’m not funny.
Just because I’m not like you doesn’t mean I’m weird.
Just because I like to laugh hysterically doesn’t mean I’m crazy.
Just because I’m done with this poem doesn’t mean I’m finished.

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