The cost of 60 gift cards to Barnes & Noble to purchase journals is $772, including shipping and <a target="new" href="http://www.donorschoose.org/html/fulfillment.htm" onclick="g_openWindow('http://www.donorschoose.org/html/fulfillment.htm', 300, 800, 'fulfillwindow');return false;">fulfillment</a>.
Among all of the concrete, standards-based writing goals I have for my students, I want them to write for pleasure. In addition, I want them to feel comfortable using words to express themselves in ways that will make each of them, as we say in my classroom, "the best person (they) can be." Many of my students, all of whom qualify for free lunch, have encountered death, grief, and personal tragedies in their lives outside of schools, all of which lead to anger, sadness, or perhaps worst of all, an emotional closing-off. My colleagues and I encourage the kids to feel safe and comfortable telling us about their lives, and often they choose to express themselves in writing. My students have writer's notebooks and produce published works in various genres, but I want them to have personal journals. These would allow them to write for themselves, to vent their frustrations and emotions in ways that will begin a process of self-reflection, which in turn may lead to improved academic and social success. I would like to have one journal for each of my sixty students. I prefer lined journals with hardback book binding (smooth spines as opposed to a spiral) and ideally, a ribbon for marking the last page written. Lines and a ribbon would encourage regular writing, since the kids can see how much of the journal they have completed, by the page and by the entire book. Although a simple spiral notebook would provide writing space, a high-quality journal would seem like a special, private writing space for each student-writer. In addition, these would last a long time, providing many years of important lessons each child can learn from him- or herself. Having and keeping a journal would provide my students with an opportunity for personal growth and self-reflection that I often cannot do justice to in the classroom.
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