Sunday, April 5, 2020

Journaling Through Coronavirus: Week 2

How did your first week go? I hope your students had a chance to share their journals! You, too!

The days seem long, don't they? I don't know about you, but often I feel lethargic, even though I have plenty of time to be DOING things. Instead, I just find myself...being. And that's okay.

Journaling can be such a healthy tool, but if this becomes onerous for your child—any part of it or all of it—be sure to take a break. Pick it back up again next week, or just do one part and not others. Be sure to offer to be your child's secretary if that's helpful to them. Sometimes, you might even just jot down things your child says or conversations you have around the dinner table. That's worth preserving!

As a reminder, each week, we will do three activities: Capture/Collage, Create, and Communicate. (Just joining us? Start here for the big picture and for links to other weeks' assignments!)

I. In your journals this week, look for ways to Capture and Collage. As you go through this week, look for things that speak to you: memes, news headlines, comic strips, a quote, song lyrics, a poem, a passage from the Bible, a paragraph from a book you are reading, photos. etc. Choose a few each week, and make a weekly collage page by printing, cutting, and pasting into your journal; writing out quotes; copying by drawing; or whatever method works for you.

Here's a quote from a poem that I really love—Mary Oliver's "Sometimes." This makes me think about all the small things that tend to go unnoticed. Maybe now, as we have so much more quiet time than usual, we can notice more things:

"Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it."
 Here's something that made me smile...

 And something that made me laugh because this is our family's new weekend tradition:

 I'd love to see your weekly collage, if you want to share in the comments!


II. Create

Do your own thing! Write a poem, make a diary entry (or one each day!), ask questions, make lists, paint a picture, draw a cartoon.

Need an idea for poetry? NPR is showcasing quarantine haiku this week. As they say there, "Poems helps us process both the world out there and the world inside ourselves, putting words to feelings that we might have suspected were ours alone to carry." Form poetry is a terrific way to enter into poetry writing. Sometimes free verse can seem too free—kids have no idea where to start! A simple haiku of three lines— 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables—is an easy pattern to follow and gives one a feeling of great satisfaction. If you and your kids write some, be sure to share on Twitter @NPRLifeKit with the hashtag #socialdistancinghaiku.

Here are some shared with that hashtag:

Friday afternoon: 
Cloudy, dreary, rainy. Three 
Sleeping animals.
(Ms. Bradford @msbradford)

Sweatpants and hoodies 
My working from home dress code 
Real pants not required 
(Alicia Claflin @clifclaf)

Give it a try, if you want!

III. Communicate

Do this however you wish—in a short freewrite, written out in dialogue, as an actual story. Think of this as stream-of-consciousness thinking. Just write what comes to mind as a response without worrying about proper grammar, sentence structure, etc. (Feel free to send me prompt ideas, especially ones related to the coronavirus that might come up at your house!) Guidelines to freewriting are found here at Brave Writer.

Here are a couple of prompts. The first one is not related to the pandemic, as some of your kids might need a break from thinking about it! (You may need to adjust them for younger kids.)
1. What traditions does your family have? List all of them or just pick one and write about it. 

2. What's going on in the image below? Freewrite about what this picture makes you think of—or write a story or a play inspired by this illustration.

 {And a reminder: This is not the time to correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. Let’s let those things go, okay?}

That's it for Week 2! Remember: sharing is important! I encourage you to share some or all of your kids’ work. If they don’t want to share publicly, that’s okay! Just be sure to set aside time each week to share at home or send photos to grandparents, friends, etc. If you are a BHEA member, you can share either on the weekly Facebook thread or here on the blog, if you'd like. Others are welcome to share here in the comments or in whatever way works for you.