Great Mini-Grant Programs

Found in Translation: Families Writing Across Languages

Laura Silver, Teacher
Julie Schildkraut, Teacher
MS 88
Brooklyn, NY

Two middle school teachers needed materials for a poetry zine project that they envisioned for a 7-week poetry unit, so they applied for an EJK Mini-Grant!

With the grant, 90 middle school students created individual zines of poetry written in English, Spanish and other languages. Each zine contained original artwork from the student to illustrate their poems.

Students were given the opportunity to share their work during the school’s bi-annual Integrated Project Week in which full classes visit other classrooms to view peer work. During this event, the students shared their poetry through displays and personalized readings with 7 classes of 6th, 7th and 8th graders and their teachers.

Through student feedback, it was clear that the poetry zine project gave the students an invaluable outlet to share their emotions. Melissa, a student, poignantly said, “In poetry, you can have more than one meaning in just a few words. You also talk about sensitive topics in really beautiful, creative ways. I might use zines to teach others or give a different perspective on certain things.” A teacher who had viewed the zines said that as a result would integrate more poetry into his SEL courses in the future.

The students’ enthusiasm for the poetry zine project has fueled interest in a poetry zine club!
“Thank you for another opportunity to move our collaboration forward and provide students, in the spirit of Ezra Jack Keats, to write about their lives, and happenings in parts of the city — and parts of the self — that would be easy to overlook.”