As you may or may not know, I have always enjoyed creative writing, whether it is reading or writing it. So naturally, I have my students do a little creative writing every now and then. For the most recent one, I gave them a picture and they had to create a story just by looking at this prompt:
It’s just a random picture that I found on the internet, but I thought that it looked profound enough to garner some creative perspectives!
Before I let them start writing, I asked them: What do you see in this picture? What emotions do you think can be connected with this picture? Then, I wrote their one-word responses on the board to further stimulate their brainstorming. I allotted 15-20 minutes for them to write and after the time was up, I had them pass their journals to someone on their right. That person would read the story and write a short comment. I had them pass to four people so each student had about four comments for their story. I asked them afterward, were any of the stories you just read similar to yours? And surprisingly, students said “no”! How neat for them to see that everyone thinks and writes differently even when they see the same photograph!
Below is one journal entry that I found to be quite soulful and poetic written by a fellow who usually has a very “cool and tough” exterior.
I know it’s a bit difficult to read so I typed out most of it here for you to enjoy (I left in the minor mistakes):
I was walking on the beach and thinking about my past if it was great or no. If I will be ready to die in any moment. Now I can feel the breeze from the ocean. I can hear the birds singing in my heart. In that moment I start to thinking in the woman of my life because she stole my breath and now she pass away with God and I know she is in a place better than here.
I want to finish my race in this world and spend eternity with her but I don’t know if I will finish.
These mountains are my wall and I can’t jump. I need to cross by walking and support everything.
My past it will be my future and my present because that is who I am.
My clothes represent my bitterness and solitude, my past. This violin represents the music I hear and how I express my feelings. I will finish my race and I would like to find her in the other world with God between me.
Reading this and other stories that students had written, I couldn’t believe that I was teaching lower-intermediate ESL. Just goes to show, you shouldn’t ever underestimate your students : ) I am looking forward to sharing more of these journal entries with you!