I started this last night, but I’m finishing it tonight after my first day of school with my new brood. They’re such a good bunch.
Here I sit on the porch. The last of the sunlight is shimmering through the old oaks turning some of the low hanging leaves gold-green. It is the last day of summer break. Tomorrow bright and early school begins.
I took photos of my writing journal today because I’m in the process of making a slide show for my students about keeping a journal. I’m also including photos of the journals of Lynda Barry, Austin Kleon, and a few others.
In my students’ journals I want them to be able to add photos, stickers, doodles, and of course writing. They will determine the content. I have decided to let whatever they do be OKAY.
There are other times in the day when we write in the classroom and use the writing process to edit, revise, and all that jazz. The journal is a different sort of animal.
Some kids will take to it like cats to cream. Others will not understand the purpose or will get lost along the way or be disgruntled or resist.
But I’m hoping to coax them gently towards a writing practice knowing full well that only some will latch on and keep writing until they are old people.
I caught the bug at the age of 11 or 12 and never let go. Writing has saved my life on more than once occasion. I want kids to know it can save theirs too.
Writing reflecting processing the world through words and maps. Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? How will I get there?
But we will start with:
What did I have for lunch? Why doesn’t X like me?
The Donor’s Choose journals arrived and they are truly spectacular. I decorated mine with stickers and a white pen. This will be my classroom journal into which I will deposit many thoughts while at school. These are not intended to be art journals per se. I have sketchbooks for that.
These books are for flexing their young writing muscles. For understanding that some of us need to write
I enjoyed last week in my class. Puttering in the golden light of the big windows. I am lucky to have this old room in the old wing of the school. Most of the other classrooms are like bat caves with no windows.
I’m as ready as I can be. Tomorrow some children who’ve been at home since March of 2020 will be returning to school. I have a roster full of kids, but all may not return if they didn’t receive their baseline COVID test. My classroom will probably have a revolving door this year with lots of movement in and out. I’m ready for whatever comes.
In times of great mental turmoil I stare out the windows at the trees and sky. They help to connect me to a deeper sense of what is truly important. I hope to allow for small moments of BEING in the great hamster wheel of doing.
I’m ever grateful for the Donor’s Choose projects that were funded. 2019 was my last one and I was simply out of so many things. I forgot a few things, so I’ve created an Amazon Classroom Wish List. It takes a lot to run a classroom and my parents are in no position to contribute like they are in more affluent areas. This is a little classroom in the inner city. It’s never easy to put these requests out there, but please know I do so with plenty of gratitude and NO expectation.
If you do contribute please email or comment so I can properly thank you. When I had a wishlist last in 2016, Amazon did not always include a packing slip to let me know who gave what to our class. Also, I sent some people thank you notes through a QR code scan and I don’t think everyone got those either. The system is imperfect, but perhaps by now it is improved. We shall see!