First day of writing class: Bullet Journals

Welcome to the first day of writing class.

If we were in a traditional classroom, I’d give a quick introduction about myself and setup the class rules. Yes, there are rules in creative writing class. Not only would I go over the rules, I’d pass out a copy and have each student sign in.

Rules
  1. I will treat every student as if they are here to become future writers.
  2. Every student will recognize that we are all works in progress. It’s okay to write something that is not perfect. Something written is always better than a blank page.
  3. Concentrate on growing your skills. Do not compare yourself to other students. Each of you will be on a different level.
  4. What happens in writing class, stays in writing class. There will be no teasing or gossiping about people’s stories.
  5. We will be critiquing each other’s work, but this critique should be given in a constructive way and be about the work, not the writer. Our goal is to help each other, not bring anyone down.
  6. Because this is a classroom, certain topics are off limits. If topics are submitted that are inappropriate, these could end up in the principal’s office.
  7. Because this is a classroom, all assignments are graded based on the goal of the assignment. If the assignment is to write a water scene, and a poem is turned in, this will earn an F.
  8. Assignments will be turned in on time.
  9. Time will be given in class to write. During this time, students may daydream/think, however, this needs to be limited. The whole time cannot be allotted to staring out the window.
  10. Students are required to turn in weekly assignments, and end of year project, and keep a bullet journal.
Bullet Journal

This is my favorite part.

When I was in school we always had to keep a dumb journal. To this day, I’m not sure how writing about what I did for the day helped. I also had to keep a journal, 5 pages a day 3 days a week, talking about grammar. Like I had that much to say about grammar.

My class will not keep a traditional journal, but I do think if done correctly, these can be handy. I’ve found the best way is to keep a bullet journal, which is basically a book of lists. And by lists, I don’t mean a simple grocery list. A list can be paragraphs, or even pages devoted to a topic.

The idea is not to give students busy work, but to have them work on something useful. A bullet journal gives them a place to jot down things they want to remember so they can use it again.

Students will use either a multi subject notebook or a binder to set up a writing bullet journal. I’d have washi tape, colored pencils, stickers and stencils available to decorate their journal.

The idea is to give the student as much control over the content and design of the journal as possible as each may have slightly different needs.

Suggestions for possible sections:

  • Names – where students could keep track of potential character names and/or backstories.
  • Titles – where students could keep track of potential story titles even if they don’t have a full story in mind.
  • Synopsis – where students could keep track of those potential story ideas.
  • Favorite writing tips – where students could make notes with tips they’d like to come back to.
  • Favorite writing in books – where students could make notes about writing they found powerful.
  • Ah-ha moments – where students could make notes about moments of clarity.
  • Research – where students could keep notes about what research they’ve done.
  • Notes for a story – maybe section it off by story idea with character, research, and everything in this section instead of broken out the other way around.
  • Book reviews – we learn by reading, so book reviews are helpful to writing.
  • Books to read

This would complete the first day. The rest of class the students would work on decorating their journals.

If you’re following along, you won’t have graded assignments. But I highly suggest thinking about using the rest of the information like:

Don’t compare yourself to other writers.

Create a bullet journal.

Create weekly assignments or word counts and keep yourself accountable for turning it it.

Always think about writing.

 

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