We’d pile back into the minivan and inevitably my mom, with her journal in hand would cheerily say, “Ok, so, what should we remember about vacation today?” My brothers, dad, and I would wonder, “Won’t we all remember the same thing?” but nonetheless we would share the adventures we experienced that day.
Apostrophe Writing: Often, we can’t speak what we want to say to others, for a variety of reasons. Apostrophe writing encourages us to write those thoughts and emotions down. Not for the purpose of sharing it with others, but simply to release those words from our mind. This experience was powerful and I have done it several times since.
Lifting a Line: This strategy encourages us to notice the beauty of words written by someone else, whether from a book, poem, or song, and then elaborate on our connection to those words. I’ve made it a new rule for myself that when I’m reading, I will always have a journal next to me.
My journals continue to collect memories of travel adventures, and I look forward to maintaining my mom’s tradition of sharing the pen with our future children. This year, though, I want to further step outside my comfort zone as a writer, and I offer the same challenge to my fellow teacher-writers.
Find a topic you don’t usually write about, share your writing with a new audience, or write in a new style. As you become more daring as a writer, share this with your students, so they can continually grow and strengthen their own writing muscles.
Val Jansonius has been an educator for 10 years- serving as a 2nd-grade teacher, elementary technology teacher, and a mentor to first-year teachers. Currently, she is an Instructional Coach at a K-5 building, kids’ yoga teacher, and an adjunct instructor at Drake University. Connect with her on Twitter @Mrs_Jansonius.