Thursday, November 12, 2009

Do you read and write??

One of the best things in my day is just before I turn out the lights. Although I teach English and have tons of reading and evaluating to do, it is the time I get to spend with my night-night book that makes my day complete. Sometimes I am so tired that I can barely get into the bed before my glasses are off and I am snuggled down with Wookie, my enormous Maine Coon cat (he hogs the covers, btw). But I always manage to read at least a paragraph of the latest treasure before I fall off to sleep.

This week I am reading the most wonderful little book: "Notes from Myself" by Anne Hazard Aldrich. This delightful book reveals not only how many forms a journal might take, but also fascinating stories of other journalists. I have enjoyed the book so much that I am revising my American Literature assignments for the next few weeks to include a journal component. I have kept a journal for more than 15 years without fail. It has saved my life and my sanity. It is a record of who I was and who I have become. It is my dear friend, just as Anne Frank's journal "Kitty." How would I ever live without my little journal? I just don't know.

We will be reading Henry Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and Emily Dickinson, amongst others over the next few weeks. We have just finished Waldo Emerson. Each of these were unquenchable journalists and this is certainly evident in their various works. I want my students to see how keeping a journals isn't a chore; it is a pleasure. So, they are to decorate a journal over the weekend to make it "theirs" for the project. We are going to explore our literature through the journals, but not in the form of reflective writings. Rather, we are going to write about our own lives in connection or contrast to the works we are reading. While I do not plan on evaluating the journal writings, a final essay will come from the project reflecting on the writing process and what they learned along the way. Hopefully, a few will remain journalists!

I hope it will be fun and interesting for the class. I am going to do it, too, to see if it is as useful as I anticipate. And, I think it is important to model for them. We must be with our students in this process, not separate. Possibly it will inspire dialogue as well as build relationships in the class.

What are you reading these days? Do you keep a night-night book? Do you journal??


  1. Matty,
    I love to read -but I do read more in the winter when the garden is over and it's mostly christian romance. I guess my blogs are my journal of sorts. I think it's neat that your introducing your students to such great authors.

  2. I don't keep a journal. Guess my life wouldn't be interesting enough. Sounds like your students have a tough assignment ahead of them. Good for you! Make them think! Lately, I've been so tired that I just read a few verses from the Bible before falling asleep. My brain has been pretty fuzzy lately. Maybe it's because it is always dark out?


  3. I keep a scrapbook journal, which is different than writing a regular journal. :)

  4. I am trying to get started on Gilead by Marilyn Robinson. I've never read anything of hers before.

    As for journaling, I began journaling about three years ago during a time when I was very discontented. I've managed to keep it going to some extent. I don't journal every day but enough that I can go back and read where I once was as compared to where I am now. Markers are good.

    I also have, off and on, done some writing in the mode of Julia Cameron's "Morning Pages". Not so different from journaling except that it doesn't have to be true.

    Your students are lucky to have you put together such a great journaling plan for them. I imagine for you, it will be interesting to see who really connects with hit.


  5. Brenda, I have borrowed your idea of a scrapbook journal since reading of it on your blog! Great idea! I started it in Concord this summer and have kept up, off and on, with it.

    Sandy, I like the Morning pages! It is just the discipline of sitting down to write that is so wonderful! Folks think they have no story to tell, but actually, we all have remarkable lives, don't you think??

  6. "but actually, we all have remarkable lives, don't you think??"

    Yes, very much so. All are remarkable and so unique! There are a gazillion stories to be told.


Thanks for dropping in on the farm today! I enjoy your comments!