Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Designing Reflective Journal Tasks

I admit to waxing lyrical about student journals. I especially admit to finding them difficult to grade - great to read, mark and provide student feedback that is really individual, but difficult to put a numerical value on.

So while I am preparing for the new semester of students which will soon be upon me, I am pondering how to design a journal activity (as opposed to an open journal) for the students. It's for a first year University class, in which we look at some pretty awful parts of history and try to make sense of them with contemporary minds ... thus there is plenty to reflect on.

In breaking down some tasks, it has taken me on a little internal journey examining how it is that I reflect in a journal piece. I know the theory about reflecting, I know how to do it ... but breaking it down into arbitrary steps is another thing.

So I'm taking my time in the design - despite the looming deadlines of the new semester ...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Journal Stolen!

What would you do if your journal was stolen? Would it matter what was in it - or who read it?

Hmmm - that's a new worry isn't it journal writers?

I watched the DVD of Man About Town this week and, and having a stolen journal was a major plot point. Written and directed by Mike Binder, it raises some interesting thoughts for most journallers I am sure!

The main character (played by Ben Affleck) is a top Hollywood talent scout agent, and he has written quite freely in the journal. In short, his journal is kinda kidnapped and held for ransom ... A drama/comedy flick worth watching.

I'm just going to find a good safe place for my journal now ....

Friday, January 11, 2008

How True are You?

Diary quote for the week:

"I tried to keep a diary but writing isn't one of my skills and also there was no way of presenting a true picture.

Charles Dance

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Writer's Resource Launched

There is a new blog space on the black dedicated to writer resources, musings, creative exercises and guest writer bloggers ...

I am pleased to introduce The Writer's Room to you ...

The blog is by yours truly, but dedicated to the craft of writing more generally than a blog on Journals (in all their exciting shapes and forms) can provide.

Do pop by and have a look - and regular visitors here who are writers are welcome to do a guest blog post if they have something interesting to say!

Freelance Writing Privilege

Every now and then as a write you get the privilege of a contract really worth doing ... one you know could make some small difference to someone ...

I had this pleasure just before Christmas when I was asked to write the dedication for this year's Red Sky Ride, a fundraising event for SolarisCare who provide pretty incredible supports for people diagnosed with cancer.

This year's ride is being dedicated to a young woman Carys Gilbert, who passed on in October 2007 at the age of 17. Her family have shared Carys' story to remind people of the reality of living and dying with cancer in the hope that there will be some donations put forward for this cause.

It was a Christmas present and a half to have the privlege of meeting Carys' family and writing the dedication. Thanks.

Now to the riders of this year's 8-day ride ... all the best! You're all doing a great job getting prepared and I'm sure its going to be tough but well worth it when the donations start flying in.

(c) Pamela Weatherill 2008

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Quote Journal

Chuck Swannell of Burlington County College created a useful classroom exercise based on a Quote Journal. It is worth having a read about - as it had a really positive effect on the students involved in his writing classes and I suspect it could easily be adjusted for other topics at all educational levels as well.

The basic idea is that students are encouraged to find quotes that move them - from films, bumper stickers, books TV etc. and then reflect upon them. Chuck also had students read them out in class each week ... The possibilities for this type of exercise are endless in a number of different subjects and at primary, secondary and tertiary study levels.

Never underestimate the value of journals in teaching!

Friday, January 04, 2008

I was here!

Something I have questioned in my research on journaling is "Why do you journal?"

For many people their responses were based on somehow leaving a record that they were here, alive and lived a life. This is a reasonable deduction to make about human behaviour without any intense research really. In pre-historic times we carved pictures on cave walls, we build structures, take photos, write books, put our foot print on wet cement .... and some of us write in journals, keep visual diaries, video diaries or blogs ... all as ways of saying "I was here".

I understand this desire. I write a blog, keep numerous journals and yes, I have done the wet cement thing and even had a hand in some graffiti when I was a teen ... I actually have no problem with graffiti that doesn't destroy property ... I have worked in youth services and have even created graffiti projects ...


There is always a but isn't there?

Don't destroy the beauty around you to record you were here. It just tells everyone you're an idiot, with little self respect and no respect for the world around you. Who wants to be remembered for that?

This posting is inspired by a visit to the Perth Zoo where some really great conservation work is going on ... and where the photograph above was taken by yours truly ... the gardens at the zoo are stunning ... and this bamboo (as was much of it) is ruined ... for goodness sakes find some wet cerement somewhere or buy a blank book!