William Wordsworth once wrote, " Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart."
Like every creative endeavor, good creative writing is partly art and partly skill. The art comes from within – a talent and ear for composing with words, and a passion for the subject matter at hand. And what would be more passionate than writing about our own experiences?!
Writing is in essence a process that draws on a person mentally, emotionally, and physically. Great talent or inherent gifts are not essential to write well, but more of a willingness to is.
The once piece of advice I can offer to you through this process this week: ambiguity is powerful, clarity essential, and writing unexpected.
Hooray! Marking Period 4!
When I met Erin Gruwell last year, she made a profound statement that I feel can truly influence all of our lives: "You can't rewrite the story, but you can change the ending." What does this mean to you?
Some of you have voiced (whether directly or indirectly) that you are having a hard time relating to these "kids from the ghetto in California". I totally understand where you are coming from. Try looking at the bigger picture....they're 14 and 15 years old just like you. They are going through experiences that many of you have faced: friendship problems, family issues, school troubles, etc.
We have our Freedom Writers Skype chat on Tuesday! It is an AWESOME experience! You should make every effort to attend! It's at 2:30 in the media center. Get there early to get a seat. Bring friends!!!!
In case you weren't paying attention in class on Friday, we will be speaking to Tiffony Jacobs. Her picture is above. Here's a little bit about her:
Tiffony Jacobs' home was chaotic growing up with her parents physically abusing each other and their children. When she discovered books, they became her refuge from the violence and chaos she experienced at home.
Between the ages of 9 and 13, she bounced back and forth between California and Louisiana. Her parents wanted her and her siblings to get a good education; so the family remained in California throughout her middle school and high school years. Unfortunately, this didn’t result in a stable home. Because of evictions, Tiffony’s family moved from apartment to apartment, from hotel to motel and even spent time in homeless shelters.
It was the start of her sophomore year that Tiffony found herself in Ms. Gruwell’s English class. Tiffony says being in Ms. G’s class and part of the Freedom Writers was a relief. Finally she had friends and peers to talk to. She would often stay late in Ms. G’s class or spend evenings at her friend’s house to avoid the physical and emotional abuse at home. She found the strength and determination to have a successful future through her new-found friends, and Ms. G's emphasis on holocaust education.
Tiffony graduated from Wilson High School in 1998. She then earned a Bachelor’s Degree from California State University, Long Beach in 2006. She works closely with the Freedom Writers Foundation as Outreach Coordinator and speaks to audiences about the resilience of humanity.
“My story is nothing,” she says reflecting on the stories she’s heard from Holocaust survivors. “[We] can get through anything. I’m proud that I can pick myself up and dust off my shoulders, regardless of my circumstances.”
Honors, you will have the opportunity to have a guest speaker on Friday. Did any of you read Firecracker?
But back to the Freedom Writers....Look beyond the pages and you'll see the bigger picture. I promise.
Ladies and gentleman we have arrived! We are about to embark on an amazing journey into the writing world of The Freedom Writers!
In my years as a teacher, I've found that oftentimes when students are asked to create, they have a difficult time finding a place inside themselves to create from. The Freedom Writers (popularized by a major motion picture and award winning book) demonstrates students who had significant difficulties and often were reluctant to complete creative writing activities given yet learned to express themselves and create for any circumstance or writing program. The Freedom Writers gives you, the students, a tangible resource to see not only the power of writing, but how it can improve someone’s life.
For those of you that don't know, The Freedom Writers are a group of students from Wilson High School in California who were able to see parallels in the books they were reading in their English class, record their thoughts and feelings into diaries. This allowed the students to realize that they all had their own stories to tell and the ability to write and express themselves allowed them that opportunity.
Sit back and enjoy!
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