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??