Coming up with an icebreaker is always challenging for any educator walking into a new classroom. Who are these kids? What are their interests other than (in the case of my current class) their desire to participate in Departures Chinatown? I've found that a great way to get students to open up about themselves - not to mention learn some basics of visual expression - is through the "Meet Me" classroom activity.
The Meet Me activity is essentially a PowerPoint presentation that students create. It's a straightforward but powerful process where the students download a template from the Departures Chinatown wiki, and then add found or personal images that represent several aspects of their interests and personality. It's a great way for students to present themselves and their interests, learn their strengths and weaknesses as media producers, and get a glimpse of the technological tools they'll be using throughout the Departures project.
A major part of this production involves students using visuals to tell the story of their relationship to their neighborhood, so what better way to begin than with an exploration of the self? Come and meet our student producers from the Chinatown Service Center's Youth Council.