Monthly Archives: June 2014

Snappped: Eight Stories Inspired by Murakami


Presented in this collection of short stories is the culminating creative work of the 10th Grade class of Think Global School.  As their English teacher, I have had the honor of teaching the majority of these young writers for the past two years, and I have seen them grow beyond what I ever thought possible. Click here to download the Kindle book for only 99 cents!


imageIn using the countries and cultures we travel through as our place-based educational model, we have read, studied, imitated, been inspired by, and even met writers from around the world. For some, writing and reading have always been a part of their lives, while for others, writing creatively has been a way to step outside their comfort zones and challenge themselves. Additionally, for half the class, English is not their first language. What is presented here is not only work that they can be proud of, but stories that shows a mastery of skills and invaluable insight gained from two years of travel.

imageWhile living and studying in Japan, we decided to do a “writer’s workshop” unit using Lucy Calkins’s A Guide to the Writing Workshop as inspiration for the writing process and selections from Jay Rubin’s translations of Murakami’s two collections of short stories, The Elephant Vanishes, and After the Quake as inspiration for the writing itself.  Additionally, we were honored to have a chance to speak with Jay Rubin himself who answered student’s questions about the translation process and Murakami’s writing.  Also, we had a chance to spend a studyhall brainstorming in the Satin Doll Jazz club, a club similar to the one that Murakami owned and wrote in. A quick clip of Fatima sharing her ideas at the club can be seen here.  Finally, these stories were paired with selected articles dealing with social issues affecting modern Japan including, the Guardian article “Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex?” and AA Gill’s controversial article, “Mad in Japan.” image

What I am most proud of is the work that these students have done throughout the writing-workshop process. It has been an absolute pleasure to see these stories grow and change as students bravely shared with classmates, accepted compliments, and implemented suggestions. What you are about to read show a depth of understanding from their time in Japan, a mastery of mood, and an attention to detail.

In addition to our 10th grade stories we are honored to have one guest writer’s addition to our collection. Jon Prentice is a TGS Reslife advisor, he runs the student book club, and is our onsite technology guru. Jon recently published Equinox, book one of his teen fiction series, ‘Chronicles of Solas.” Jon has provided us with a short story from his collection of short stories, A Vignette of Names, and is featured as the first story in our collection.  More information on Jon’s writing and how to purchase his book can be found at


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Ride Hyderabad – Final Cut Pro Personal Project

Ride Hyderabad – Final Cut Pro

As a teacher I think it’s important to stay creative and try new things. This helps me to stay imaginative when coming up with new lesson plans, set a good example as a life long learner, and figure out how to use software that I may incorporate into my lessons in the future.

This is a video I put together as my winter break project using Final Cut Pro (software that the school provides), one of the school’s GoPros, and a motorcycle. I bought the motorcycle myself.


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Interdisciplinary Tea Project

The Business of Tea – An Interdisciplinary Project in India

The above video captured and edited by Lindsay Clark, our media specialist, details an interdisciplinary and place-based project inspired by reality TV shows like Dragon’s Den.



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Graphic Novels for Change – Published


These final published copies of our “Graphic Novels for Change” were produced for dual a school collaborative interdisciplinary unit between THINK Global School and Hiroshima International School called “Graphic Novels For Change.” The purpose of the project was to combine narrative techniques, visual literacy skills, and research to raise awareness about a human rights violation in the form of a graphic novel. The final versions can be read on our ISSUU site here. 

Screenshot 2014-06-12 15.35.04These graphic novels are amazing. Students form both schools in both grades took what they had learned from Scott McCloud’s Understanding ComicsKenji Nakazawa’s autobiographical graphic novel about the bombing of Hiroshima Barefoot Gena dual school trip to the Hiroshima Manga Library where students from both schools could learn from each other, a dual school trip to the Hiroshima Peace Museum to contextualize Nakazawa’s novel, and an exclusive interview session with Kenji Nakazawa’s wife who was able to provide us details dealing with Nakazawa’s writing process. More details about my English class’ unit along with class videos can be found on my previous posting. 

As the TGS English teacher, what I am most proud of is the way in which every student implemented creative and purposeful visual literacy techniques to emotionally connect with an audience. While reading, look for creative ways that students use lines and shading to express mood, different panel layouts to express time, different types of borders to focus reader attention, and different uses of closure (the connections our mind makes between panels) to engage readers emotionally. Additionally each student has worked hard to structure their plot and develop their characters in a way that guides readers towards specific emotional responses. These graphic novels are amazing.

imageThere were many teachers involved in this project. The covers for these graphic novels were done in Lee ann Thomas‘ art classes; her personal artwork can be seen at The research and links to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were done by Nick Martino; an overview of his unit can be seen on his blog. Rachel Kirby headed up the Hiroshima International School’s side of the project, implimented the visual literacy lessons in her English classes and worked with them in her art class to design their covers. Jason Underwood also worked with students in his English classes at HIS to understand and implement visual literacy techniques, and Ciprian Baciu worked with his HIS students on their research component. Lee Carlton put together the ISSUU page.

More information on my English curriculum can be found on my blog, 

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