Journals, Journals, Journals!!

As you well know, all of Behind the Book’s in school programs generate a final writing project.. We’ve always been blown away by the depth and creativity of the students’ work, and this year, we want to give the students even more space to explore their identities as authors.  Therefore, in this school year, we have been focusing especially on writing journals and have made a record number of writing journal visits with a record number of writing journals.

Look at all those journals!

Keep in mind that in each of those 12 boxes, there are 24 journals.

12 x 24 = 288

You’re seeing 288, writing journals, made from recycled paper, and ready to fill with brand new ideas!

Our ever amazing teaching artist, Barbara Korein is the Goddess of the Writing Journal (yes, this is indeed her official title) at Behind the Book, since she leads most of the writing journal workshops.  Her program works with the kids to explore identity, using words, colors, textures and design as they represent their identities on the cover of their new journals.

Let’s hear what Barbara Korein, out teaching artist has to say about the creative processes of the kids in the writing journal workshops:

Barb talks about value, color, line and a whole bunch of important things

We give them a choice of colors and then a variety of collage materials from which to find images, words and cut shapes. And while each student starts with basically the same materials, their choices make their covers very different.

By the end of the class, the students have created their unique personality covers for their writing journals. These outside covers represent the students in the same way their writing inside does.

And these students got so creative it was ridiculous!  The volunteers who were helping at the journal workshops reported that the kids were using the materials we had brought in innovative and fascinating ways.

One student made a cool superhero mask out of a cut-out of the letter H (if you look above, you’ll see the kind of H he used.  Hint: it’s blue)

When another student had cut the letter N out of a sheet of paper, her friend across the table used the rest of the paper with an N-shaped hole in the middle to decorate her journal.

Everyone loved the sheets of words that they could cut out and paste to their journals.

But, it was even cooler when some of the students found the word sheets insufficient and took to writing their own words on their journals!

Nina Ibanez, one of the volunteers at a writing journal making workshop offers these final remarks:

Seeing them all work and create was so much fun.  I liked that they weren’t confined by any requirements so that they could think all about defining themselves and the art they made was exactly what they wanted to do.  They put a lot of thought into what they designed on the covers and they were very personalized.   If you put all this work into making your journal look cool, you’re going to want to use it, and I really think they do.  A lot of them asked when we were coming back. 

Nina works with a student

If you think this looks like fun, know that we have many many more great volunteer opportunites for the coming school year, and we would appreciate your help.

For more information about volunteering, email

For more information about our organization in general, email

Journals are great for our High Schoolers too. These CHAH students are hard at work collaging


One thought on “Journals, Journals, Journals!!

  1. Pingback: New Student Book: Where 802 is From – Behind the Book

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s