Saturday, December 5, 2009


this public mechanism is so weird, a blog. last entry contained a portrait, i had posted it, removed it, saw jude ( had posted a portrait, took courage, and posted the pic again. photographs have the strange ability to tell truths and lies that eyes do not. mitigated by skill and equipment, photos are art or tools or messages. 

i teach journaling to my students, writing and art combined. for high school kids with emotional issues, the journal is a safe place to express visually as well as a place to practice writing, which is my ultimate goal. so i think a lot about journaling and how a blog is a journal (or not) and what the purpose is. i think about the book as a tool for conveying story. is the blog a journal, a book? the kids use photos in their journals (there IS a connection here) and tell stories with words and photos and art. they make self portraits with film cameras and in photobooth and iphoto. they watch the video Dying to Tell the Story about dan eldon. they come to treat their journals as precious, even as art objects. i journal right along with them. the portrait is a way to see, examine oneself.

i'm convinced books are valuable. even my poorest readers have books they love. and every student i have had has valued the journal enough to take it home in june. the journals grow fat, become sculptural. this year i've selected moleskine large soft covered journals instead of composition books for the quality of the paper and the pocket in the back. will this practice inspire these kids to write for publication, even term papers should they go on with schooling? i'm not kidding myself. but i do think it's possible they will read books to the children in their lives, passing on the valuing of books and stories and pictures.  


jude said...

i have been comparing blogging to the real book lately. in my head. i think some people blog in private with out publishing. like a diary. and then the choice to publish, on paper or internet is some other step. i am just thinking about it with no real conclusions yet. just that either way it is a process. valuable.

Joanne B Kaar said...

Hi Velma,
The 'Scottish' journal has been out and about! I took it with me to generate some ideas on a recent project. Here's a couple of links. Youtube shows one ot their final journals, and the other link shows pics of the workshops (including pages from your entries to our journal!


Joanne B Kaar said...

Copy and paste the links to see!


Velma said...

we are so literate, i'm learning, even if we don't have exquisite grammar or even sentences. kids texting, for example, understand each other. it's wonderful to "read" the variety of communication "devices", the book being perhaps the most democratic.

PiecesofD said...

I started to comment on this post and last comment, but it turned into a post on my own blog... I hope it doesn't read negatively, but I wanted to pose a question about current and future generations. I would love it you and your readers would take a look and perhaps give me some of your own points of view. Thanks.

Velma said...

p of d--there are many modes of communication. my students have to pass the GED, not regents exams, and therefore have to follow most of the conventions of english to do so. i never allow text abbreviations in any class writing, even casual. one has to know the rules in order to break them successfully, like ee cummings, wm shakespeare, claude monet, george rouault, to cite four rather successful men.

PiecesofD said...

I certainly meant nothing negative regarding you, your students or anyone else and I apologize if it came out that way. I simply posed a question for thought... one I've heard other parents and teachers ask as well. Again, I apologize if my post offended you or anyone else. It was not meant to cast anyone in a negative light.

Velma said...

no offense taken here, just trying for clarification. the little brats drive me crazy when they're too lazy to write words instead of text abbreviations!

PiecesofD said...

I hear ya there! Thanks. Look forward to your next post.

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