Jumping into Multi-literacies (JiM) Class is a program of the Center for Literacy on the campus of Concordia University Chicago that is designed to engage elementary-school-aged students in literacy activities through meaningful, interactive and academically challenging learning experiences. Students have the opportunity to research, write, create, and engage with topics of their interest though digital technology, visual and performing arts, and advocacy.
JiM Class coaches provide guidance and expertise to students as they make sense of the different media they use and the content they chose to explore. The program is designed to have a deep, meaningful and lasting impact on the literacy development of the participating students.
The strength of the program centers on the practice of literacy as a meaningful, useful and relevant tool in the lives of students. Research has informed us that student performance is positively affected when students are engaged in self-selected projects that extend into their daily lived experience. When students can see themselves in the work that they do, and feel that it can be personally and socially transformative, they become invested in doing their best. The use of multi-literacy is central in achieving this outcome.
During JiM Class, students have the opportunity to use the resources of Concordia University Chicago and the trained experts to shape individual or group projects relevant to their lives. The topic comes from the experience of the students. The mode of inquiry and the final product will be shaped through dialogue and guidance of the JiM Class community (adults and children). This form of learning has deep pedagogical roots, most notably in the work of John Dewey.
All students create a final product (report, poster, video, story, collection of photos or memoir writing) that is presented during Community Night. This event brings teachers, families, community members and students together for a showcase of the completed work. Students have the opportunity to invite different members of the community to Concordia-Chicago to share their questions, research and findings.
JiM Class is funded by a grant from Youth Services, Oak Park and River Forest Townships.