By Publishing Magazines, Students Learn New Skills, Languages

Through an innovative program that pairs language development and comprehension with digital literacy, students learn how to write, design, produce, and publish magazines—while still in high school. Co-founded by Michigan-based language educators Deborah Gaiefsky and Daniel Verdugo, My Class Mag empowers learners to publish their own magazines to develop language proficiency and digital literacy. My Class Mag, an educational company and VELA Meet the Moment grantee, provides in-depth instruction to students.  

“Student magazines empower learners to develop culturally and socially responsive projects for their communities,” Gaiefsky explained. “It immerses them in the events and happenings that affect their community, while teaching them useful skills they will have for the rest of their careers and lives.”  

Each semester that students participate in My Class Mag’s Launch Your Class Mag program or Class Mag Club ensures they publish a digital and print magazine edition, have the opportunity to connect with the local community, and strengthen their digital literacy skills. Fellow VELA Meet the Moment grantee Engaged Detroit is among My Class Mag’s first cohort of students, partnering with the Detroit-based homeschool group on its first youth publication called Youth Voices driving Youth Choices.

The success of Huron High School’s Ñ! Magazine — Verdugo’s brain child and the first bilingual magazine of Ann Arbor, Michigan — inspired him to co-found My Class Mag. 

Guiding students through the entire process of magazine production, My Class Mag teaches magazine design, creation, and publication through a series of workshops and classes. The collaborative project can also happen in nontraditional learning environments; this year, My Class Mag is pairing up with another VELA grantee, Engaged Detroit. Students in the homeschool co-op collaborated with each other and Gaiefsky to produce their first magazine: INFOrUS.

“This is a great opportunity to collaborate and create a new opportunity for students,” Gaiefsky said. “The magazines blend original student content with open-licensed content thoughtfully curated to produce engaging and relevant content for their readers.”

“The program gives our language learners valuable skills and confidence,” adds Verdugo. “They can graduate high school with the ability to continue their magazines independently if they wish.”

Taking place over 12 virtual sessions this semester, My Class Mag students received weekly feedback on content development and project management progress. With the support of a VELA Meet the Moment grant, the students published the magazine digitally and distributed several hundred print copies among the local community.

Next semester in the Class Mag Club, students will continue developing a new themed edition and connect with local sponsors to support their publishing projects.

Learn more about My Class Mag: Website