Be the Author of your Dreams

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Be the Author of your Dreams

Shelbee Burke, Staff Writer

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Bullet journaling is a beneficial way to stay organized and it can help with many aspects of life. Here at AHS, this method of journalism is taught in Creative Writing II by Ms. Roxie Smith. She uses the book “8 to Great” by M. K. Mueller as a guide for the class. “8 to Great” is a curriculum that speaks about eight highways to having joy in life and the author discusses different things that a person can do to find happiness. 

Recently, Smith reached out to the author of this book to create and publish a guide for teachers on how to teach the book with bullet journaling. She stated, “I was trained by her years ago, as were many high school teachers, because our principal brought this author here. Something stuck with me, and I loved it so I started using it for the class Creative Writing II, but it wasn’t until three years ago I started experimenting with a bullet journal method, because that’s kind of the buzz word right now.” She went on to say, “people find journals intimidating, just to sit and write, and so what the students are doing is they’re doing just short notes and drawings and it’s just a really cool way to connect. So it hit me in June- I’m contacting the author. I think kids would love this across the nation, across the world.”

The first step of the process was to send the author sample copies of what the last semester’s students did. The author contacted Smith back immediately and said she loved the idea and told Smith to begin to type chapters teaching how she instructs it. She explained that the author asked, “How would we teach this? How could other people who aren’t you teach this to kids?” Smith went on to say, “Well, then I started typing the chapters up and sending one chapter at a time to her. She then would forward the chapters to her publisher and then she had me start sending everything to the publisher. [The pubishing] has happened fast. She got the work in September, maybe even the beginning of October and I just sent my last chapter to her so we’re looking at publishing this in March and making it available to purchase.” This will be something schools can purchase to use but it will also be available for after school programs, churches, prisons, YMCAs and alternative schools. The book will be marketed as a creative writing curriculum, but it could also be in a leadership or careers class. Smith remarked, “the information is about how to live a happy life in all aspects of our lives- our careers, our family, our home, everything.”

Smith explained bullet journaling by stating,  “it’s taking a concept from [the author’s] notes, but turning them into a drawing that the kids will forever remember. Really, the bullet journal comes out as a guide for life.” A few things students will do include sleep trackers, health and mood trackers, and water intake trackers. She remarked that some of the benefits include, “better relationships, better focus on the things we want out of life. It’s a huge suicide prevention tool, it’s a huge anti-drug and alcohol tool, there have been studies that show the strategies that I’m trying to teach in this process lower heart rates, help with anxiety and depression, help with forgiveness and how that can change our lives” The health benefits behind this journaling method are numerable.

An example of one of the lessons taught in Smith’s class is having gratitude for the past, the present and the future and working on how to manifest dreams. She taught this by having students draw a sandwich- the principle is called “sandwish.” She explained, “on the bottom bun is gratitude for the past, so I am thankful for being provided food growing up. The middle is gratitude for right now, I’m so thankful I have healthy friendships. And the [top bun] is a gratitude for their future as if it is happening. I’m thankful for this degree in physical therapy, I love working with my clients.” 

Smith stated that the whole process has been very exciting and she is excited to see the outcome. She has had an impact on many students, as some have even gone as far as to buy their own pens or markers to really bring their journaling to life. She even recently purchased journaling pens from Amazon for some of her students. Students are seeing the benefits of this exciting hobby being taught and it is a popular class to take at the high school.