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Anyone have experience with this? I've done a few zine workshops (mostly for teens) at my public library, but I've had some school teachers who were interested in a presentation for their classroom. Any suggestions?

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I have some experience with it. I am working on designing and implementing a Zine curriculum for my future students as my final project to earn my bachlors in Liberal Studies. I've had trouble finding lesson plans that have been used or even information on how teachers use zines in their classrooms. The curriculum I'm creating is designed around building student's individual identity, as I feel schools and the school system can negate students individuality in certain ways. So really the project is really open ended and many of the creative decisions are left to the students (as is the idea with zines) and what is important to them. I've started out by presenting the idea of zines and exploring examples, while also working with the students doing activities to develop ideas about who they are and whats important to them. For example we filled out an "I am" poem worksheet that just says I am ____, I feel ____, etc. However, the zines are meeting writing curriculum standards. I've also heard about teachers who pair the zines with literature and require students to write about certain characters, chapters, etc. Those are just some ideas.
How did you get a room at the public library?
I taught a mini elective on zine making at a public middle school. The kids were super pumped about it. We generally used the minizine format.. then kids had an easy time filling up that much space without being too random, and they were easy to copy and distribute. We also did some collaboration projects.

I think the biggest thing was to let my students go at it, with mini lessons on collage, folding, binding, fonts, found art, etc.

I also think it's good to get a good variety (appropriate) zines from your local comic store to just show kids what a zine is. Most of my students had never seen one.

I thought the coolest thing about teaching zines to kids that age was that they had zero inhibitions. They never struggled with artist block or writer's block.. they would just go for it, and their work was incredible. On the other side of that, however, is that at times the zines weren't very thought-out and were sometimes pretty random.

Middle school is the perfect age to make zines, because they're such an expression of identity and interest and personality, and middle schoolers are just oozing with all those things. I say just go for it!

Oh.. and two good references: Whatcha Mean What's a Zine, by Mark Todd and Esther Pearl Watson, and How to Make Books, by Esther K. Smith.

Good luck!

hi boco!  I am also doing some zine-work, but at the college level. I was thinking about putting together a bunch of interviews with "progressive zine teachers" for an issue of my zine, Twenty-Four Hours. You interested in being interviewed? 

Let me know!  Josh Medsker



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