Every year, my school offers after school activities for our students that range from wacky science experiments to art classes. This year, a fellow teacher and I started a new club to explore the fandoms that we love so much. We crossed fingers and toes that there would be kids who wanted to share in our excitement. We called our club Random Fandom and waited for kids to sign up.
We were a little surprised and disappointed that we only had five kids sign up for our class. With many classes to choose from, students tended to gravitate toward established classes, and we wondered if our idea would be over before it began. Other teachers who had unsuccessfully tried new clubs in the past gently suggested canceling it all together because it wouldn’t be worth the time and effort. However, after our first class, the enthusiasm of those five kids was electrifying and we knew we had started something small but very special.
We decided that we would “Everyday Cosplay” each week to show the kids that their teachers were the proudest fangirls around. The first day arrived and I wore my TARDIS skirt, and Rebecca wore one of her many Star Wars shirts. I didn’t think the kids would notice, but they all pointed out that my skirt looked just like “that little blue box” that sits on my computer. We started the first class with a silly little survey to see what fandoms they loved and to learn a little about their personalities. Our survey included questions such as “Loki or Thor?”, “Gandalf or Frodo?”, and “Which Hogwarts House?” We expected this to be a quick opener, something they could do in a few minutes while they ate their snack. But those silly questions were debated for over thirty minutes! We then followed up with a couple of videos from this year’s San Diego Comic Con and ended with the kids making Shrinky Dinks (remember those?) magnets of the fandoms they loved.
Since then, we’ve become honorary pirates, made zombie marshmallows and toxic slime in celebration of The Walking Dead, received Top Secret S.H.I.E.L.D folders with monster paper crafts, and created Marvel superhero T-shirts using freezer paper and hand drawn stencils.
Our upcoming plans include an introduction to Doctor Who, with a viewing of “The Eleventh Hour” in the school’s theater, to coincide with the 50th Anniversary, baking TARDIS cookies and fish fingers and custard, and creating our very own Sonic Screwdrivers.
We also plan to dive into the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, with a Hobbit Feast (Second Breakfasts, Elevenses, anyone?), a Smaug paper craft project, and a lesson in writing Elvish.
As the year progresses, we’re looking to explore the worlds of Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek, DC Comics, Disney, and gaming. The crafting ideas are endless.
Thursday afternoons are the times I look forward to the most, seeing my kids talk and craft and laugh and share. And as word gets out of what we do in our little Random Fandom club, I hear more and more kids saying they wished they had signed up and how they will absolutely do it next year. And that makes my nerd heart smile.