Of Epics and Comics

Today, I brought my son to school so I had to be extra ready for class. This means, by the time my students arrive, Jacinto must be sleeping and all our activities must be ready (materials and chairs must be ready for group discussions and “circle time”). I thought of rereading the epics that my students and I will be discussing so I could bore my two-year-old son to sleep. We will be reading and playing with three epics (Adarna version): “Humadapnon”, “Beberoca” and “Indarapatra at Sulayman.” So, I read the epics aloud while we lay on a mat. By the third epic, he was snoring. YAY!

Finally, my students came and they sat on the armchairs arranged in a circle. Their first activity was to freewrite about their concept or idea of a hero. It may begin with the line: a hero must be… They wrote for around 5 minutes. I asked some students to share their free writing and I began the discussions there. Terms like sacrifice and villain and doubt and magical aid and transformation were mentioned and explored. We were to define what a hero is, what a hero’s journey looks like and other recurring characters and  themes in epics. We were able to finish our short discussion while Jacinto slept in a corner.

The class was divided into groups. Each group was to work on one epic. First, the members read their epics. Then, they were to create their own Hero’s Journey by selecting six significant scenes from the epic. Each scene must be illustrated in a bond paper. The illustration may be as simple as a leaf, or they may draw stick figures. They may, of course, opt to make it more elaborate. The important thing is they provide titles or phrases to define the stage.

The students were considerate enough to tone-down their voices to not wake Jacinto up. Usually, group discussions and brainstorming are loud and fun. While they worked on their scenes, I called the Grade 9 students. We were to workshop their first attempt at a 5-minute play. By this time, Jacinto has cried and I’ve swayed him in my arms so he can go back to sleep. I was facilitating a Playwriting workshop with a sleeping two-year old in my arms. It went well!

After the workshop, I went back to my Grade 7 and 8 students. They were ready to present their six scenes. I am going to scan them and post them here. The funny part was Jacinto wanting to stand (and present) beside the students who were in front, sharing their finished works. And when I was wrapping up the discussion, Jacinto stood beside me and began mimicking his momma. It was so hard to keep a straight face today. It was fun. Jacinto was the kind of distraction everyone needs once in a while.

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