During Fall 2014, Know Your City worked with Graphic Designer and Educator Travis Neel and Tim Schulze’s 5th grade class at Harrison Park School to produce Jade Journal. Over the course of 12-weeks, students studied their immediate SE 82nd Ave neighborhood and create a free, multilingual newspaper that is informed by their study.
With articles ranging from profiles on local businesses to editorials on racism, the lack of sidewalks and inadequate parks, the first issue of Jade Journal was a great success. 6,000 copies were printed and distributed primarily in the neighborhood, available in English, Spanish and Chinese. The paper both acknowledges the need for greater equity in neighborhoods east of SE 82nd Ave, while celebrating the area’s rich cultural diversity.
Topics addressed by the program stretch across several subjects and help students in meeting the learning objectives in their reading and writing requirements. Among the specific learning objectives for the 5th grade level, Jade Journal meets Portland Public Schools requirements 5.RI.2, 5.RI.3, 5.RI.7, 5.RI.9, 5.W.1, 5.W.2, 5.W.3, 5.W.5, 5.W.6, 5.W.7 and 5.W.8.
Class began with introductory and icebreaking exercises, and a group conversation about the neighborhood. Students discussed the positive and negative aspects of the community, and then participated in community mapping exercises. Students built on this discussion through workshops with guest speakers, learning about interviewing, photography, creative writing and editing. Students then formed small groups and used these skills to design interview questions and go out in the community and gather stories at local businesses. The paper was celebrated with a public release event in which students gave readings from their work, and students finally visited City Hall to present their work to City of Portland elected officials.
For more on Jade Journal, see these report backs:
Jade Journal was made possible with the generous support of our members, and from Oregon Arts Commission and Black United Fund of Oregon.