So, I teach English, it’s what I do. I love it. My current assignment is the First Year Composition area (FYC) a series of two courses that are kind of a way to say “hi, this is college and this college writing,” to my writers, but that’s not really what I do as much as welcome my students into the world of navigating new deadlines and new expectations, new pressures, new obstacles, and new demands. We talk often about how things are different here, in college versus wherever they came from– be it high school, or home school, or returning from a life that was not college. Either way, there’s a certain indoctrination that happens. I like to help them navigate through and make that a smoother process, bridging some of the gap with writing.
Some of my students love writing. Some don’t. Some love reading, some don’t. This is my 9th year teaching English and I decided to change everything about what I was doing this fall, from my assignment sequence to my classroom strategies, and I also decided to implement a bullet journal in my classroom as a required component. It’s a lot of changes all at once, but the bullet journal is the biggest change.
Part of this stemmed from my experiences at ISI and the Middle Tennessee Writing Project, where I had to come up with an inquiry project. I thought bullet journals could be the thing– to reflect on how my students used them, have them reflect on the process, and talk about how their experience mattered.
Here is a page from my journal, one of the first. I loved this quote from Bruffee. I like to personalize my BuJo.
If you don’t know what a Bullet Journal is, then I invite you to check out some of the resources I’ve developed for my students. I created:
Starting A Bullet Journal, Bullet Journal Spreads, and Catch all Bullet Journal Page on my Pinterest. I also have a PowerPoint presentation that walks through how to set up a BuJo in class, if you would like to see it, email me.
The reason I wanted to use BuJos in my class was because so many of my students struggle with time management, goal planning, accountability, and reflection. For me, the bullet journal system has been hands down the best system for that. I have gone through so many planners (I will save you the pain of me listing them all here), and none of them worked for what I needed them to be. Part of it was that I needed to take the time to write things down, I needed to take the time to reflect on what was important, to make my goals, to make a to-do list and prioritize. While not all of my students may take these lessons to heart, some of them will. Some will say “this was very helpful for me” and some will say “this made me see what i can be doing to be more accountable” or to be better at their planning and mindfulness. There’s a lot that happens in college, a lot that happens in life, that can help or hinder us from meeting our goals. Life gets busy, life gets messy. We learn to prioritize, we let things matter that shouldn’t.
My student’s first reaction to the BuJo system was the same one I had, and that was to be overwhelmed. It seems really complicated when you first look at it, especially when you see all the crazy things that people do on the internet with their journals. I stressed to them that they can take it and make it whatever they want: it’s a tool. You can do the bare minimum of what you have to do in this class, or you can make it into a little work of art. They seem to be easing into it. I am excited to see what it can do for them. I love my journal. It makes a huge difference in my life.
My September Spread: I was going through a tough week, so this really made me feel good to do.
Do you bullet journal? What are some can’t live without resources you would love to share? Tell me about them!