Our school library hosts a variety of events throughout that year that allow students to engage in authentic experiences, which helps to build a culture of learning.
The Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School is a multicultural, New York City public school, grades 6-12, that provides students with the opportunity to “engage in learning expeditions and have multiple opportunities for hands-on learning, both inside and outside of the classroom.” By engaging the students of the Manga Club with the community organization Resobox, students had the opportunity for hands-on learning experiences that enhanced their cultural appreciation for Japanese art, language, and food. Resobox is a Japanese cultural center in Queens, New York, that is dedicated to sharing and celebrating Japanese influence in the arts. It offers a broad range of authentic Japanese activities, events, classes, art exhibitions, and even cuisines to spread to diverse audiences every day (http://resobox.com/). These educational opportunities through the library program not only continued to develop the library culture, but also provided students with a variety of skills that will increase their academic achievement at school.
The Manga Club started with a small group of middle school students meeting once a week during lunch to discuss books. This year it developed into a three-session after-school club for three hours a week. During this time students worked together to critique anime, provide book recommendations, create original art and stories, and engage in enthusiastic conversations about common interests.
For our third session of the Manga Club our learning expedition focused on Japanese culture. With the AASL Inspire Special Event Grant, which financed this program, students had the opportunity to engage in workshops with the community organization Resobox. Providing students with the opportunity to work with the instructors of Resobox not only deepened their understanding of Japanese culture but also helped them to build tolerance within the community. The Resobox workshops were offered once a week for eight weeks for 25 students. Those workshops included Manga Drawing and Animation, Ink-Painting and Calligraphy, Japanese Language, and Sushi-Making.
Acquiring the AASL Inspire Special Event Grant allowed for these learning opportunities for the students of the Manga Club. These learning opportunities will not only foster their lifelong love of reading, but students will become actively engaged readers by connecting their reading experiences to their authentic experiences. Students will share their learning in October during our Manga and Anime Convention held in the library during the school day for the entire school. The students in the Manga Club will be responsible for organizing and hosting the event. They will use their knowledge from the Resobox workshops to facilitate their own student-led workshops.
Students are excited about being leaders in their own learning. I have never seen a more passionate group of students than the students engaged in the culture of Manga and Anime.