If you can't or won't tell me what's bugging you, write it down! My Teen Living students in grades 6, 7 and 8 are placed in our alternative school because they were unsuccessful in the regular educational setting. Their behavioral issues frequently translate into academic struggles. Many of them are at least one grade behind, and almost all of them are facing extreme challenges in their day-to-day lives.
Due to their personal and home-life situations, most of my students have learned to put on a tough front; that is, they try to seem a lot rougher than they really are. If given the chance to express themselves in writing, where they can disclose their innermost thoughts without worrying what the tough kid in the next seat thinks about it, they may be more comfortable seeking out and using some of the community resources that are available. During a different writing project this year, we found that a large number of our students liked the "Secret Journal" idea, and they used their journals to write down their ideas, fears, and concerns. One day a week, a counselor from a community-based youth shelter comes to my classroom and we work on Life Skills lessons such as Communication, Anger Management, and Goal Setting. Since many of my students are older than their grade level would suggest, we relate these skills to the challenges of the adult world such as finding and keeping employment, holding civil conversations, and settling differences without violence. These journals will allow the children to privately ask questions or seek help, allaying their fears of classroom embarrassment.
My students will create their journals using resources that I have on hand (ample supplies of donated fabric) and resources that we have to acquire. The lesson here is to show them that we should first look at the resources we DO have and work from there. We need 144 composition books and a supply of white glue so that each student can create his or her own personal journal, to be used as both a writing tool and a way for them to ask for help from resources in the community.
Many of these students already feel abandoned by their families, their schools and their community, and the journal will serve as a tool to restore or create their faith in these resources. Your assistance will allow us to demonstrate to my students that they are not abandoned, that resources are out there and they only need to look around to see who will be willing to give them the assistance they need to take that first scary step.
|Composition Books - Case Pack of 144 • Nasco||$91.96||1||$91.96|
|Nasco Country School? Washable White Glue - Gallon ( w ?ul ( w ?u • Nasco||$6.88||2||$13.76|
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