A Hero’s Journey at Nativity Prep Academy

Heroes come in many shapes and sizes. For Nativity Prep Academy 6th graders studying Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey pattern in literature, a hero may take the form of a dog, a wolf-girl, or an ordinary man who becomes a racism-fighting super-human.

Sixth grade students at the southeast San Diego school studied fairy tales in literature class before taking on the task of writing and illustrating their own hero’s journey tales. Then they learned story telling techniques to tell their tales to an authentic audience in a public venue.

To begin the project, Walter Ritter of the San Diego nonprofit Write Out Loud came to class with his Story Box Theater and told hero stories using a traditional Kamishibai – paper theater in Japanese – a small, wooden box for displaying art during storytelling. Students listened to Ritter’s stories, and then spent weeks writing their own tales, and creating art to illustrate their stories. Finally, the class practiced their stories and took their own kamishibai on the road to tell tales to a live audience at the Oak Park public library and at the Nativity Prep Academy open house.