Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The J

I've never kept a journal. Ever. It’s not that I hate writing or anything, I just don’t do it. I was never required to keep a journal in any of my classes but after reading the chapter on journals I’m excited to incorporate them into my future classrooms. One thing I found interesting was that the authors describe 4 types of journals that serve 4 distinct purposes. I like how they keep the different types separate because I think it helps students’ minds as they write. When a student pulls out the class journal, for example, they will be in a different frame of mind than if they were writing in a project journal. After reading this chapter I’ve realized that my reading journal for this class is really a project journal in disguise and my blog entries are similar to what would be in a class journal and/or writer’s notebook (depending on the entry).

When I did my tutoring for my English 308 class, I gave my tutee a notebook to carry around with her and jot down ideas. It was empty at the end of our time together. I didn’t require her to write in it, but she had such an active imagination that I thought it would be a good place for her to jot things down. She liked to write stories on her own and had her own journal in the classroom. Maybe the journal I gave her was just one too many? I guess I’ll never know… There’s a quote on page 63 that reminded me of my tutee, “When kids first read their journals they act the way they did the first time they heard their voices on a tape recorder, ‘Is that me? I didn’t know I sounded like that!’” My tutee had a similar reaction the first time we read through a final draft of a story that she worked on during the 5 weeks of our tutoring time. We had been talking about similes and metaphors, concepts that she was also learning in her English class. While revising one of her drafts, she decided she needed to add a sentence that showed the character’s emotion in a conflict-filled part of the story. She added the sentence, “When I heard the glass break, I felt like my world shattered with it.” I was blown away. Until this point her writing had been bland, missing a stylistic quality. After she wrote that sentence she looked up at me and said, “That sounds really good! I didn’t know I could write like that!” That was all it took. From then on, she was trying harder to make her writing more interesting. It was like a lightbulb clicked on and she understood how similes and metaphors worked. This sounds pretty cliché, but it was a very rewarding and encouraging time for me as a tutor as well.

… ok that was quite the digression. But, as I read in Inside Out, digressions in journals aren’t a bad thing so I guess I’ll leave it! As I prepare my lesson plans for submission in my portfolio, I’m going to try and work journal entries in wherever I can.

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