Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Planning (and conducting) our first book group session @ Riverside

Anne Dalke's picture

On August 9, 2013, Jody and I met w/ five women in Riverside Correctional Facility (below find the outline for the class we conducted). The point of doing this before the semester started was to get a sense of how the new book group we want to run (with the help of Hayley, Sasha and Sara G) might function--what sorts of texts are the women interested in reading? how open are they to writing? what might it be like to conduct a conversation that loops back and forth between reading, writing and our own experiences?

After the session (which was absolutely astonishing), we met with Deputy Warden Marcella Moore, and talked through the details of what we plan to do. We are pretty pumped about what happened and what might happen. We are hoping that the social worker @ Riverside will be able to find 10 women who would

like to do a book group w/ us, meeting 1-3 on alternate Friday afternoons this fall

(Sept. 6 & 20

Oct. 4 & 25

Nov. 8 & 22

Dec. 6--w/ the intention of picking up again in late January, as a praxis extension of Jody's multiculti ed class)

The two texts we've handed out so far are

Notes towards first prison class 8-9-13

1 p.m. Anne: Welcome, make yourself a name tag.

Tell the story of your name...

Wondering who we are: teach Ed and English @ BMC;

last fall we participated in a course @ the Cannery w/ Barb Toews,

and an artist named Erin, enjoyed it, learned a lot,

wanted to do more of this sort of teaching-and-learning.

And we’re curious about you….

Do you read? Do you like to read?

Do you write? Do you like to write?

What do you hate about writing?

1: 30 Jody: Read aloud Audre Lorde’s piece—read along w/ us,

marking anything that speaks to you, that you like;

also anything that bothers you/you want to talk about:

good and bad/any energy that grabs you

* Draw a rectangle around a whole sentence, and also circle a phrase--

and then write your own word about what you’ve heard.

*  Read around, w/ caution: just read it, no comments.

* A minute to digest….then

2:00 p.m. Anne: What did we hear? What was repeated?

What ideas were held up?

*  Write about a time when you were silent (or draw the scene of that time).

What did it look like? What did it feel like? What happened?

Or combine the two: write and draw…

Feel free to say/write anything you want; you won't have to share...

2:30 p.m. Jody:

Who would like to read?

This may be first step toward next month’s assignment.

* Assign Walker essay for our first Sept. mtg:

write a 3-pp. biography along the lines of what she did:

a series of short vignettes from your life: 3 moments, 3 scenes