So you know the website PostSecret? (If you don’t go check it out right away!) Well, it gave me an idea for class. Writing class can be a bit dry. I mean, the writing exercises are totally creative and fun, but it’s still sitting quietly and writing. And I know for some it’s just not their thing.
So I thought a little arts and crafts in class would liven things up. A few weeks prior I asked the students to write down an anonymous secret and give them too me. Then I re-distributed them out to the class (so it was anonymous as it could be) and had them do a 30-minute free write about the secret. You see, what I really wanted to do was have each student make a postSecret. But I thought they would be too shy to share anything really sensitive. But this way, but doing a different “secret” activity first I gave them the option of using someone else’s secret.
So last week I gave them a blank index card, a pile of magazines, glue sticks and pens and gave them free reign to make whatever PostSecret postcard they wanted to.
I also like how some of these secrets shed light on some modern Chinese culture.
In China the students usually have assigned seating and their desk mate usually is their closest friend. (It stands to reason, seeing as how they spent close to 10 hours a day at school.) A lot of secret love was had between desk mates I think.
A shockingly large amount of students believe 2012 will be the "beginning of the end." They point to all the strange weather as proof. My reply is always, "well, if the world is going to end soon, what are you doing in school? Shouldn't you quit and enjoy the small amount of time you have left?" They usually say they are staying in school, "just in case."
The one child policy affects a lot less people than you think but it does affect them nonetheless. In China it is illegal to know the gender of your baby for fear that parents will abort girls (though I've heard for a generous "donation" to the doctor you can find it out.) Another interesting fact is that my students are very confused why abortion is such a big issue in the US. Here it is acceptable, and even advertised heavily on billboards, posters and for a short time on the seats of my local bus.
Traditionally in China boys are valued higher than girls. Things are changing, and I've heard many students say they wish for a baby girl someday, but for some, the "disappointment" of being a girl still stings.
I'm not sure if this is true with just the one student or all chinese girls, but I do know the boys were very interested in this one. It was like they were getting a secret look into the inner workings of the young female mind.
I’m going to send the secrets to Postsecret website, but even if they are never published there I am proud of my students for making art cards and sharing their secrets.