Your journal is one place I get to have a good in-depth "conversation" with you about the issues and ideas that come up in class and in the readings. It's not a private diary; I give you assigned topics to write about. But you have freedom of expression when you write, and no worry that you will be graded on the form, spelling, or grammar of what you write. I am interested in what you think and what you have to say, always. The school day is a busy one, though, so the journal is the one place we'll both always have time to "listen" to each other.

I take your journal very seriously, and spend a lot of time on it--as you will discover. It's my favorite thing to grade, and it will become your favorite thing that I grade.

Hey! You've found a secret link!

Journal Rules:
  • A journal response is complete if you write a page--one A4-sized page.  That's about 300-350 words, for those people who need word counts.
  • If you are absent when a journal is due, you should hand in the completed journal the class day AFTER the day you return to class. You can usually get the latest topic here online.
  • Once your journal is late, I'd rather good writing than quick writing. Late journals should be handed in as soon as possible, but with no deadline except the end of the quarter AND that I want good, thoughtful writing; once it's late, it's late, one day or one week.
  • Late journal responses count only for half credit.
  • If you handed in your journal on time, and a topic comes back to you with an "incomplete" written on it, you DON'T HAVE ANY CREDIT for that journal...yet. You can add to or re-write that topic. If you write more than half a page and hand it back in, it will be given a check that counts as late.
  • DO express yourself in the way you want to. If you draw a picture, make a chart, or write a poem in response to my assignment, I'll find a way to count that in the "half page" requirement.
  • Except for Journal #1 and the final topic of the year, one of your topic choices is always to write whatever you want to write. You are not restricted to the topic(s) I give you, even though most people will write on the given topic.

The Topics
(This list grows as the year goes on.)

#1: Introduce Yourself
Here's the place to more formally introduce yourself to me. Tell me about your…
#2: Survey Questions
Select any ONE OR MORE questions from the discussion circle survey in class, and write your thoughts.

#3: You are an Elder
Imagine that you are an Elder, but in our world (not the community of The Giver). You've been watching your classmates for a while now, and tried to figure out their talents, their interests, and their personalities. Now, assign each person in your class a career or job which fits him or her best. Remember, think of jobs/careers from our own modern world (like football player and rock star), not the Assignments from the novel. While you're at it, why not assign yourself your perfect job? For each assignment, tell why you chose that career for that person.

#4: Thoughts on The Giver--Pick One
#5: Write a Story Based on Pictures
For this journal, I gave you several pictures--a grave, a torn envelope with half of an address visible on it, an accident in a swimming pool, a woman walking with a baby at night, and a fossil called an amonite--and asked you to write a short story which included all of the pictured elements.

#6: Write a Poem
Write a poem of at least 20 lines. For a topic, select something you care about. You may write in any form you wish--free verse, rhyming, whatever fits your topic, mood, or feelings. You may also write several small poems instead of one long one, as long as you write a minimum of 20 poetic lines.

Return to the TallMania home page.