Tonight was my first Creative Journalling for Kids session at the Orion Township Public Library. I had a mess of 8-12 year olds who signed up for this introductory level class.
What's Creative Journalling? It's a means of combining sketchbook & diary, and the most perfect way for kids of all ages to learn the joy of personal expression.
We started out with a review of some great pages (check out the book 1000 Artist Journal Pages by Dawn Devries Sokol) to get our juices going. We brainstormed as a group based on what we had seen, then each student created an inspiration card - a bookmark sized index card they filled with keywords and ideas from which to build pages.
After that I handed out moleskins (little blank books) and set up stations with gel pens, markers, colored pencils and crayons (including the wildly popular crayon muffins, broken bits of crayon melted in muffin tins for fist sized rainbow-hued coloring).
We started with a title page and worked our way in. Each student made at least one page, combining elements like poetry, cartooning, stencilling, doodling and free-word association. One young lady drew her imaginary friends and wrote an entry about how much she loved them. A boy in the group drew an item on each page, mis-labelling it (the orange crayon he colored was labeled "Blue Crayon"). Another creative soul included her own biography on the first spread, and invited her readers to leave their names somewhere in the book.
It was such a good time, we stretched the classtime another hour, only leaving because the library was locking up. When surveyed as they left, the students all said they would continue their journals over the summer. Mission accomplished!!
Over the weekend I'll lead another session for teens and adults where we'll explore collage and paint and layering different mark-making techniques. I'll do a second kids session in July, too, for those students who couldn't make it tonite.
And it looks as though Creative Journalling will be an after-school enrichment class at the elementary level during the next school year. I hope to see some of this evening's participants as part of these groups, and watch their creative voices mature.
I am thoroughly enjoying working with students (of all ages), and find that I walk away from the sessions having learned many new things myself.
I am terribly inspired but heading to bed - will use this motivation tomorrow,