“The idea becomes a question with no answer”


To Myself Eight Months Ago

There was a big idea
There was an idea or a
something for students to explore
The idea of noticing and thinking but
that isn’t much of an idea or is it The
concept of an open teaching practice Open
to students’ interests Facilitating their wandering
creativity But this isn’t best when teenagers don’t
know each other To get to know play games and share
journals Peace circles for next year Don’t be intimidated
by time devoted to social and emotional and not academic
Listen and ask and push and pull back Create space together
Cultivate voices grow an ability to challenge Everyone is an introvert
Amazing work from one student musters others courage Attack the status
quo The way society sees and judges The idea becomes a question with no
answer Too open to close Ephemeral They created and wrote and interviewed
and produced Saw their questions appear in works throughout the centuries Now
they bring their learning to everything they make Discovered others have the same
questions The project will be unsuccessful The idea never realized how you imagined
But the students will question the status quo and explore where they want to be constantly


We determine the guiding question and focus of the project.
Objective: Students will find a creative answer to some of the issues they face in school and in society.
Objective: Students will work together and ask their peers how they feel about certain topics.
Objective: Students will have control over their academic and social environments.
Students identify a problem or an it. They explain why it is a problem, the context of the problem—from local to global—and why the it/problem is ignored. They also explain who does the ignoring, who notices it/problem, and why who matters.
On our trip to the MCA, we spent most of the time in the Prisoner of Love exhibit. Students spent some time free-associating off of the title artwork and watched Arthur Jafa’s video, Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death When we got back to Kenwood, students spoke about the sadness and joy depicted in the video, and how society doesn’t directly address either extreme of emotions depicted in the video.
Textual Inspiration: Eve L. Ewing’s Electric Arches.
The re-telling poems provide a structure where the speaker – Eve – begins by explaining the facts about a situation she witnessed. As the poem continues, the speaker’s imagination takes over, and she explains what should or could happen if the victim in the situation had the power to control the situation.

Nina Williams

Kenwood Academy High School

Nina Williams has been a Chicago Public School teacher for fourteen years, all of them at Kenwood Academy High School in Hyde Park. She started teaching Creative Writing ten years ago, which lead her to pursue an MA in Creative Writing and Literature. Nina loves reading and writing, and sharing her love for the written word with her students. She lives on the Northside of Chicago with her husband and her two cats.

The students create a re-telling, a satire, a fable, or an allegory to highlight the it/problem they identify, and to propose a solution to the it/problem. Their responses will be collected in a zine to be distributed to their friends.
Students draft ideas on their problems with dress code.
Students draft ideas on their problems with dress code.
The strike slowed down much of the momentum, but we continued on. Students are worried about what the administration will say about their work. For me, their work represents how they believe adults perceive them.