Entry #1: Antisemitism.
Respond to the below prompt from the point of view of your assigned Holocaust victim. Try to imagine how these experiences would have affected him/her, and what his/her reactions might have been. At the beginning of your entry identify your victim by name and what country they were originally from.
It is 1935 and the Nuremberg Laws have been passed. Jews are no longer considered citizens, so they can no longer vote and many of their rights are taken away. Jews are forbidden to marry Germans and must add “Israel” [for men] or “Sarah” [for women] to their names so they won’t be mistaken as Germans. Jews have their jobs taken away, and Jewish children can no longer attend German schools. One day, on your way home, you see your Jewish neighbor Mrs. Schloss on her hands and knees scrubbing the street as your non-Jewish neighbors surround her. They keep yelling “clean up this filthy, you dirty pig!”
Use imagery to describe the scene from the point of view of your assigned Holocaust victim.
- What do you see, hear, taste, smell?
- Explain your reaction.
- What do you do?
- What do you say?
- What do you think?
- What do you feel?
Entry #2: Liberation.
Pretend that you are a victim in the Dachau Concentration Camp and American soldiers have freed you after being in captivity for several years.
Write to Lt. Cowling thanking him for his help in freeing you. In your first paragraph, explain your purpose for writing. In your second paragraph, write about how you felt when he arrived. In your last paragraph express your gratitude for his help in gaining your freedom.
Entry #6: Tell about a time when you stood up for someone else.
Entry #7: Tell about a time when you [or someone you know] teased, picked on, or bullied someone else. Were your [their] actions justified? Why or why not?
Entry #8: What kinds of people do you see getting picked on? Have you or a friend/family member been picked on? What was the response?
Entry #9: What do you remember most about your childhood? Did you have a special place? What kinds of things were you afraid of? What helped you feel safe?
Entry #10: Has the prejudicial treatment of Jews throughout history been a type of bullying? compare what you know about bullying with what happened to the Jews. Cite evidence from the short story “Anti-Semitism: A History of Hate” to support your response.
Entry #11: “All it takes for prejudice to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” [By Edmund Burke] Define the word PREJUDICE and explain what the quote means. Cite a time in history when this has been true.
Entry #12: What are some of the words/phrases that you want to say more often? What resolutions have you made to be a better person this year?
Entry #13: Setting Goals for English Class
- What is a goal you want to achieve in Language Arts? What do you want to accomplish? Better grades? Focused attention during class? Being at school more? Completing homework and project assignments? More concentrated effort at studying?
- What steps can you take to reach that goal? How will you make it happen? What are the smaller goals you need to complete in order to accomplish the larger goal?
- Identify people/things/problems that are challenges in reaching your goal. Are you absent a lot? Are their people who distract you? Are there other things getting in the way of your time to complete homework? Do you not feel like participating in class? Do you have trouble concentrating?
- How will you overcome those challenges you mentioned above? If you are easily distracted by peers, how will you overcome that challenge? How will you make sure you are not absent? If you struggle with homework completion, how can you overcome that challenge? How can you stay focused and participate more in class?
- What is your deadline?
- What do you get if you reach your goal?
- What happens if you do not reach your goal?
Journal Entry #14: What is the definition of a plodder? What is meant by perseverance? Describe in detail a time when you were a plodder and persevered to accomplish a goal. Use the words plodder and perseverance in both your writing. Be sure to illustrate your entry.
Journal Entry #15: Doing the Right Thing
How would you feel if you met a good friend who you had not seen for a long time and found out he or she was doing something against the law. [like drug dealing or stealing from peoples homes] Discuss the internal conflict [struggle inside your mind and heart] that you might have in such circumstances.
Journal Entry #16: Being a Teen in 1906
Imagine you are a teenager growing up in 1906. What would your life be like? Explain how you would dress, behave, and talk. What expectations would there be for school, household responsibilities and going to work. What kinds of ‘fun’ activities would you have to choose from for entertainment. Describe how different would your life be than it is now.
Journal #17: How Things Turn Out
Sometimes things turn out very different from what we expect. Write about a time when something turned out differently from what you expected. Describe how you reacted at the time.
Journal Entry #18: Time Changes People
It has been said that “Time changes everyone.” What do you think you will be like in 20 years? Describe in detail what you think you–and your life–will be like.
Journal Entry #19: The Cave I Fear to Enter
Joseph Campbell said: “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
What is the symbolic cave that YOU fear to enter:
- auditions for the school talent show?
- trying out for a sport?
- being friends with others?
Write about your symbolic cave. What is your ‘call to adventure’? How can you accept the challenge? How can you conquer your fear to claim the treasure you seek?
Journal #20: Making a Difference
- Describe what happened in the video.
- What character trait[s] did the boy who reached out his hand [at the beginning of the video] to help the fallen boy demonstrate?
- How did he make a difference?
- Do you think that “If you give a little love, you can get a little love of your own?
- What are you doing to make the school a better place?
Journal #21: Roar
Write either a response or a poem about:
- something that you have overcome, or
- something you are proud of, or
- your own personal battle cry
Journal Entry #22: Character
1. When you think about it, what are your character strengths?
2. If you want to be a better version of yourself, what type of person do you want to be?
3. How can you use your strengths to make a better school? community? world?
Journal Entry #23: Changing the World
1. Respond with your thoughts and feelings about what these boys did.
2. How can YOU go about changing the world?!
Journal Entry #24: Breakfast
We have been told that breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day.
Take a look at 50 Breakfasts from Around the World, then answer the questions below:
- Besides America, which country’s breakfast is most appealing to you? Explain why.
- If you had to try something new, [besides America], which country’s breakfast do you think you would like best? Explain why.
- What are some of the foods you eat for your breakfast? Why are these a good/not so good choice?
- What are some of the foods you think would be a good breakfast to eat before you have an important test? Why would these foods be a good choice?
- If you were given your favorite breakfast, what would the chef prepare for you? Use this question as your illustration with the label: My Favorite Breakfast
Journal Entry #25: Becoming Me
Think about how your thoughts, experiences, and influences [such as health, appearance, family economics, friends, siblings, teachers, talents/abilities, parents, etc.] have effected your life.
- Summarize your own experiences, so far, in the process of “Becoming Me.”
- Write about the strongest influences in your life that affect how you see yourself, what you can do, and who you want to become.
Journal Entry #26: Food as Heritage
The author Barba Nikos describes a Greek salad as “an emotional involvement” and goes on to list the ingredients and their connection to Greek history and culture. Explore this notion of food by answering the following questions:
- What foods are traditional to your family or cultural community?
- How are these foods connected to specific people, holidays, or events?
- What feelings, memories, or traditions go along with them?
Journal Entry #27: Stereotyping
A stereotype is an oversimplified image of a certain person, or group of people usually held in common by some part of society. Stereotyping is when you apply a group of characteristics to a person based soley on one characteristic.
For example: You see someone who rides a motorcycle, and you assume that they are an outlaw–uneducated, covered in tattoos, belong to a gang, and they park their bike in the living room. The truth, however, may be that they are a doctor, have no tatoos, are not in a gang, but, they do like to park their bike in the living room.
Another example: A blonde ordering food in a library.
Answer these questions about stereotyping:
1. How can stereotypes be harmful to both the believer and the victim?
2. Why do you think stereotypes develop?
3. How can stereotyping be eliminated?
Journal Entry #28: Changing a Community
Meet the girl who changed a whole lot of lives:
- Write a paragraph responding to the videos.
- How can WE build a better Edgewood Middle School community?
Journal Entry #29: End of the Year Thoughts – Part 1
Each year brings with it triumphs, changes, setbacks, challenges, new people and many new experiences. You have probably heard the expression, “Life’s a journey, not a destination.” It is important to take a moment to think about your 7th grade journey.
Answer the following questions:
- What was fun and/or unforgettable about this year in school?
- What was one of the most significant events of the year in school?
- What was one of your favorite books, short stories, or units in Language Arts class that you have read this year? How did it impact and/or change the way you see yourself, others, or the world.
Journal Entry #30: End of the Year Thoughts – Part 2
- It’s time to awaken to your life purpose! What is your life purpose? What are you passionate about?
Helping people during a tragedy
Saving an endangered species
Working toward better laws and lawmakers
Helping sick people
Saving the Earth
Feeding the hungry
Finding shelter for the homeless
Working with animals who have no home
Helping children through tough times
Protecting others who cannot protect themselves
Former President John F. Kennedy once said, “Ask NOT what your country can do for you, ask what YOU can do for your country. How do you plan to help others make our world a better place? How are you going to get involved in service to others?