Journal 1 - West Ada School District

Journal 1
Are you excited for school to start?
Do you like English? Why/Why not?
What did you do this summer?
What is the American Dream? Does
it still exist? Why/why not?
Journal 2
Write about a personal quality, talent,
accomplishment, contribution or
experience that is important to you. What
about this quality or accomplishment
makes you proud and how does it relate
to the person you are?
Journal 3
Free Write!
Journal 4
Many parents give children a weekly or monthly
allowance regardless of their behavior because
they believe an allowance teaches children to be
financially responsible. Other parents only give
children an allowance as a reward for completing
chores or when they have behaved properly.
Explain what you think parents should do and
Journal 5
What would you be willing to do for a friend?
How far would you go? Explain.
Journal 6
In your own opinion, what should happen to
someone who commits a crime who isn’t
mentally capable of understanding what they did
was wrong? Should they be punished just like
anyone else? Should they go completely free?
Who should decide who is and isn’t capable of
making decisions based upon their mental state?
Journal 7
What do you know about the great
depression? What do you know about
migrant workers? How were minorities
treated during this era? What do you think
life was like for the majority of these
workers? Explain.
Journal 8
Do you think George is kind or mean to
Lennie? Explain. Do you think that someone
could get away with talking to a person like
Lennie the way that George does? Why do
you think that George puts up with Lennie
when he doesn’t necessarily have any reason
to stick with him?
Journal 9
Pretend you are Curley. Write a diary entry in
which you describe your feelings about the events
in the story that pertain to you. Be sure to write
in the first person, as though you are Curley. Try
to imitate his language. You can go beyond
simply retelling information that is presented and
develop the character a little using your
Journal 10
What aspects in the story Of Mice and Men can
you parallel to your own life? Do you think any of
the characters are relatable? Explain? Do you
think that you could handle the situation that
George is in any better? Have you ever had your
patience tested to the point where you finally
broke down and did something that you are
ashamed of? Explain.
Journal 11
Pretend you are Crooks. Write a diary entry in which
you describe your feelings about the events in the story
that pertain to you. Be sure to write in the first person,
as though you are Crooks. Try to imitate his language.
You can go beyond simply retelling information that is
presented and develop the character a little using your
Journal 12
Think of the old cliché: “Home is Where the Heart is”.
Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
Use specific examples from Of Mice and Men and from
real life to explain your answer.
Journal 13
Why do some people struggle with knowing
where they belong? Can you identify with this
struggle? Why or why not? Explain why it is
important to have a sense of belonging at your
Journal 14
Can murder ever be justified? What’s the
difference between murder and mercy-killing?
Who decides? Do the best-laid plans often go
Journal 15
Did you like the ending of the novel? Explain.
Why do you think Steinbeck chose to end the
story the way he did? What other endings would
have been possible, given the circumstances of
the story?
Journal 16
Free Write!
Journal 17
What do you know about the 20’s? From
what you know about the 20’s what do
you think it would have been like to live
during the time? Write a journal entry as
a person from the 20’s.
Journal 18
You have achieved your dream award / position.
Perhaps this is an Oscar or Grammy, a Pulitzer
Prize, a political office, a multi-million dollar
sports contract, etc. Write your acceptance
speech for the occasion. Be sure to thank those
who helped you and to tell your audience what it
means to accept the award / position.
Journal 19
How are economic classes separated in America? Is it
just money, or is there more to it? Would you say that
it’s relatively easy to cross economic/social classes? For
example, can the nouveau riche (newly wealthy—
people who win the lottery, for example) simply slip
into an upper-class life and be completely accepted?
From your own experiences, how well do the classes
get along with each other? Explain with examples—
positive and negative.
Journal 20
In chapter 1 of the Great Gatsby, Daisy discusses
her hopes for her daughter. She remarks: “I hope
she’ll be a fool-that’s the best thing a girl can be
in this world, a beautiful little fool.” What does
Daisy’s remark about her infant daughter tell you
about Daisy’s own character? What does it tell
you about society in 1922, the year the novel
takes place?
Journal 21
In real life, F. Scott Fitzgerald had to work hard, amass a fortune, and
throw himself into a glamorous social world in order to win the hand of
his socialite wife, Zelda. This experience, as well as his difficult
marriage with Zelda (who eventually suffered a nervous breakdown)
probably complicated his attitude toward women. Discuss the attitude
toward women in The Great Gatsby. As you try to establish your
argument about women in the novel, closely examine the behavior of
the female characters and think about how the narrator, Nick Caraway,
describes them. You might also consider the behavior and attitudes of
the various male characters toward the female characters. How do the
men treat the women?
Journal 22
In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald places a great emphasis
on our use of symbols, or the significance we place on
the objects and people in our lives. For example, to
Gatsby, the green light at the end of the Buchanans’
dock, and even Daisy herself, stand for his dream of
recreating his happy times with Daisy in Louisville five
years ago. To another man, this green light and this
woman might be meaningless. Which objects or
individuals hold particular significance for you?
Journal 23
Jay Gatsby totally reinvents himself. Imagine that
as you go off to college, you decide to change
your name and to alter large portions of your
personal history. Who do you become? *Keep at
least one true detail from your past.
Journal 24
In The Great Gatsby, Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s marriage is
ruled by a double standard. Tom feels that he is free to
engage in extramarital affairs, but he is outraged at the
thought that his wife might get involved with someone else.
Double standards are fairly common in families, in
relationships, and even in social institutions. Frequently, what
seems to be good for one person is not allowed for another.
Make a list of double standards you have experienced or
observed. Are they connected in any way? Does there seem
to be a logical reason behind any of them, or are they all the
result of irrational prejudice?
Journal 25
Why might pursuing a dream or goal be more
satisfying than actually achieving it? Like Gatsby,
have you ever become blindly obsessed with a
goal (money, soul mate, vehicle, group
membership, G.P.A.,etc)? Were the results
destructive for anyone? Explain with examples.
Journal 26
At the end of The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
suggests that the American Dream has shifted from its
original idea of “the pursuit of happiness” to a
materialistic pursuit of wealth. Do you agree? Is the
American Dream now just a matter of money? A
combination of money and happiness? Or does the
dream depend on the person? What did you think of
the ending of the novel? Explain. Would you suggest
the book to someone else? Why/why not?
Journal 27
Free Write!
Journal 28
Have you ever been in a situation where you had
decide if you were going to follow others or put
your foot down and go your own direction? Do
you think this is a common occurrence for people
your age? Why / Why not? If given the
opportunity would you do the same thing again?
Explain. Is it easier to follow or go your own way?
Journal 29
What do you think it would be like to live in the
woods without modern conveniences? Do you
think you could live without electricity? Without
a car? What if the nearest store was a full day
ride roundtrip on horseback to get to the store
and buy the necessities like food, clothes, toilet
paper, deodorant, shampoo or a toothbrush?
Journal 30
Think about your own life. Was there
ever a time when you made the decision
to be a non-conformist? Explain the
situation and discuss the consequences
of your decision. If you have always been
a conformist, think about your
motivations for that decision.
Journal 31
Webster defines Carpe Diem as “enjoyment of the
pleasures of the moment without concern for the
future”. What does it mean to you? What do you
think this meant to the Transcendentalist writers
such as Emerson and Thoreau? If you could come
up with a modern day slogan to live by what
would it be? Explain.
Journal 32
Respond to the following quote:
"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write
poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human
race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering,
these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry,
beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for."
What does this mean to you? Do you think there is any truth behind
it? Explain.
Journal 33
All-girl schools have been gaining popularity in
recent years because of the belief that girls learn
better when they aren’t competing with or
intimidated by boys, who statistically get more
attention in the classroom. Do you think singlesex schools are a good idea? Why or why not?
Use speciļ¬c reasons and examples to support
your position.
Journal 34
What is the first thing that pops into your head when
you hear the word romantic? Explain. If you could
describe romanticism in modern times how would you
describe it? Do you think that romanticism is still
around today? What makes something scary? Explain.
What was your favorite story when you were younger
and why? (This story can be a family tale, urban legend,
town history, or favorite book growing up.)
Journal 35
Have you ever heard a rumor spread about
someone that you knew wasn’t true? What did
you do about it? How do you think rumors start?
Why do people continue to spread rumors when
they know they may be hurtful? Explain. Has
there ever been a false rumor spread about you
that was accepted by many as the truth? What
were the consequences?
Journal 36
Do you think there have been any types of mass
hysteria that have broken out recently? Do you
think it is possible/likely for it to break out again?
Explain. What would you do if people you loved
were being accused of something that would
result in them being jailed if you knew it wasn’t
true? Do you think you could do anything that
would actually help? Explain.
Journal 37
Write about a time when…
1. You thought you might be in trouble, and you lied
to avoid it.
2. You were among a group of people who had
trouble getting along . . . what were the underlying
problems or motivations among them?
3. Your emotions prevented you from making a good
Journal 38
Write about a time when…
1. You found yourself "in over your head" because of
a bad choice you made.
2. You made a bad choice that you wish you could go
back and change
3. You made a good choice that played a role in who
you are today.
Journal 39
Write about a time when…
1. You (or someone you observed) was on a
"power trip."
2. You were frustrated by the blatant lies
someone was telling that everyone believed.
Journal 40
Write about a time when…
1. You sacrificed a principle that is important to you
for a person that is important to you.
2. You (or someone you know) was asked to "name
names" or implicate others in a problematic situation.
Journal 41
Write about a time when…
1. You pretended to be something or someone
you are not.
2. You became totally disillusioned with
someone or something that you believed in.
Journal 42
Write about a time when…
1. You were afraid to admit you were wrong.
2. You gave up something or someone
important to you for a principle.
Journal 43
Can you think of any examples of a modern day
witch hunt? What took place? What kind of
things drive witch hunts? Explain. Do you feel
like you have ever been part of a witch hunt put
on by your parents or the school? Explain.
Journal 1
How did you do last semester? Did you meet
your expectations in your classes? Do you think
your parents will be happy with your grades?
What are you going to do differently this
semester? What is your expectation for a grade
in this class? Explain.
Journal 2
Some said that Obama’s election marked the
beginning of a post-racial society in America. Do
you agree? Why or why not? Do you think that
racism is still a big problem in our country?
Journal 3
Think back to your childhood. Most of you
probably remember having a great imagination,
or can see that imagination run wild through a
younger sibling. Write a detailed account of one
of your adventures from your childhood. If you
can’t remember one, make one up.
Journal 4
“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something."
- Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895)
Journal 5
Huck has mentioned in the text that being on the raft, going
down the river, is where he feels safest and free. The horrors
of society among shore drive him to get back on the river
many times throughout the novel. Describe your safe place.
Think of someplace you go to “get away.” If you “don’t have a
place to escape” imagine what your dream escape might look
• Be descriptive, give specific details
• Explain why it gives you that freedom, or the feeling of
Journal 6
Have you ever been in a position where you felt
like you should tattle on someone? What did you
do? If you could go back would you have done
the same thing? Why / why not? Has anyone
ever told on you? What happened because of it?
Journal 7
Have you ever been in an accident of some kind
that really scared you? Were you able to think
clearly? Do you think the others involved were
able to think clearly? Explain. If not, what do you
think you would do if you were involved in an
Journal 8
Have you ever played a good joke on anyone?
What was their reaction? Has anyone ever played
one on you? What was your reaction? If not, do
you think it is okay for people to do so? Explain.
Journal 9
Could you, as Huck does when he helps Jim evade
capture, do something you had been taught all
your life was wrong? Explain. Why is Huck able to
ignore his “conscience” and follow his heart?
Journal 10
Who is the most “moral” character in Adventures
of Huckleberry Finn? Who is the least “moral”?
Explain. How do you define morality in these
Journal 11
What is the significance of Huck coming to the
realization that “you can’t pray a lie”? Explain.
What is the significance of Huck stating “All right
then, I’ll go to hell”? Explain. Do you think that
Twain’s novel would still be considered a “classic”
without these powerful statements? Explain.
Journal 12
How do you think Tom Sawyer would plan Jims
escape compared to Huck Finn? Explain. Come
up with a Romantic plan to help Jim escape.
Journal 13
Do you think that this generation of kids (8 and
younger) have lost their creative side of the
imagination? Explain. Have you ever played a
make believe game with a kid much younger than
you? Were you willing to do everything that they
asked? Explain. Do you think that Jim goes along
with Tom’s plan just to make him and Huck
happy? Explain.
Journal 14
Ernest Hemingway once said that all American literature came from
one book: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. According to
Hemingway, it’s “the best book we’ve got.” However, other scholars
and students of literature dare to disagree with this assessment.
Examine the novel Huck Finn as a masterpiece of American literature.
Does it deserve a place in the canon of Great Books? Support or refute
Ernest Hemingway’s claim. Take a stand for or against the inclusion of
this novel as required high school reading. Develop your reasons for
or against the novel’s stature as an icon of American literature. Provide
specific and intelligent reasons, and support those reasons with
specific examples from the novel. You will also need to examine
American society (and its students) today, as contrasted with society in
the past.
Journal 15
The ending of Huck Finn has been criticized as
abrupt, shallow, and unsatisfying. What are the
aspects you consider the most compelling or the
most frustrating? What does the ending do to
your perception of Huck as a character?
Journal 16
Free Write!
Journal 17
Good habits improve our physical, emotional,
and/or financial health. Select one of your good
habits and write a response persuading readers to
make that habit a part of their lives.
Journal 18
To what extent is technology today fostering
intelligence or ignorance? Explain.
Journal 19
Respond to the following statements:
• Television is a great source of news about important issues facing the American people.
• Most people in the US spend most of their free time watching TV.
• Control of citizens by the government is fine if it reduces conflict and violence in a country.
• Censorship of books is really not an issue today.
• The great books are essential to enabling humans to be truly happy.
• True happiness consists of having fun with friends.
• The average person in the US is rich compared to the average in other countries.
• Differences in wealth among countries is a source of bitterness and war.
• Watching or playing sports is actually more important than conversations about ideas or world
• Advances in technology have made life richer and people happier in the US.
• People who resist government policies which they think are wrong should be valued by society.
Journal 20
Are you excited for Spring Break? Are you going
to go anywhere? What are your plans? What
was the best Spring Break you have ever had?
What was the worst? Explain.
Journal 21
How would you get by if the society we lived in was a dystopian world
(Similar to the Hunger Games, or Divergent)? Do you think that you would
be part of the rebellion, or would you fall in line and try not to ruffle any
feathers? Do you think that you would be able to survive? Explain.
How do you think you did on your college research essay? Do you think
the instructions and expectations for the paper were clear? If I spent
more time explaining the assignment and gave you the opportunity to
“fix” your paper before grading it would you take advantage of the
opportunity? Explain.
Journal 22
Clarisse asks Guy, “Are you happy?” And it rattles his entire existence.
Now you will answer the same question:
“Are you HAPPY?”
Explain why or why not.
If we decided to burn books in our own society today, what type of
books would be burn? Would some of them be kept in a library?
Journal 23
Describe the society (a fictional America) that Montag lives in. In
what ways is it similar to, but more extreme than, our society?
What signs are there that it is a “dystopia” (the opposite of a
utopia, an ideal society)? What makes Clarisse so special—so
different from most people in her society? What qualities does
Montag have that make him receptive to her influence? Why do
you think the mechanical hound has been programmed to react to
Montag? Why do you think the woman chooses to burn herself
along with her books? Why does this have such a powerful effect
on Montag—what does it mean to him?
Journal 24
What would viewers see if your life were a movie?
Do you think that it would be a blockbuster hit, or
would it bomb at the theatres? Explain. Is there
anything that you would be embarrassed to share
with the world? What if your messages on your
cell phone was shared with the world?
Journal 25
Free Write!
Journal 26
What are your thoughts on the SAT? How do you think
you did? Did you study for it? Based on the college
you researched, what do you need to score on it? Do
you have any plans to take the ACT, or retake the SAT?
Journal 27
Why is Truman’s perfect life an unacceptable life?
How would you feel if you were in his situation?
Journal 28
Write a movie review on the Truman Show. Write
it as if you are writing the review for a magazine
or newspaper. What aspects of the movie are
really good, and really bad.
Journal 29
Bradbury is suggesting that books do more than just teach. In
fact, throughout the text, he implies that the absence of
books is responsible for every negative feature of the society.
According to Bradbury, books do more than just teach facts.
Books promote intelligence and prevent ignorance. Write a
persuasive response that takes a position agreeing or
disagreeing with Bradbury’s 1953 forecast for the future. Do
you agree with Bradbury’s prophesy based on what you see in
current society and recent history?
Journal 30
Who had it worse, Truman Burbank or Guy
Montag? Explain. Have you been thinking about
college or trade school seriously? Do you know
what you need to do to get into the schools that
you are interested in? Explain.
Journal 31
What are your thoughts on the book? What
parallels do you see between F – 451 and modern
society? Write a book review for the novel.
Would you recommend it for others to read?
Would you put it on the banned book list?
Journal 32
If you were to meet your favorite teacher or coach 16 years
from now, what would you hope the meeting would be like?
Do you think you would be a different person then? How so?
If you found out that you had a terminal illness and had only
a short time left to live, how would you spend your time left?
Do you think that you could be happy and at peace with your
situation during those last days? Why or why not?
Journal 33
Respond to the following Quote…
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear
is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our
darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be
brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not
to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve
the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that
other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to
shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other
people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our
own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” –
Marianne Williamson
Journal 34
If you could take a class with the subject simply
being LIFE, what important life lessons should be
included in the curriculum and how should they
be taught?
How do you feel about crying in front of other
people? How do you feel when someone cries in
front of you? How do you usually react?
Journal 35
What are your beliefs about death and the
afterlife? Do you fear death? Why or why not? If
you were to die in the near future, would you feel
satisfied with how you have lived your life? What
would you do differently, if anything?
What do you fear most in life? Why? How do you
deal with these fears?
Journal 36
How do feel about the fact that you are going to get
old some day? How do you think you will cope with
it? What do you think will be the worst part about
growing old? What will be the best part about it?
Do you consider yourself a greedy person or not?
Explain and give examples. Do you feel that being
greedy is always a bad thing? Why or why not?
Journal 37
What are your beliefs about marriage? For example, do you
believe in the traditional vows: For better or worse, in sickness
and in health, for richer or poorer and until death do us part?
Why or why not? Also, is unconditional love really possible?
Finally, when, if ever, is divorce okay?
Have you ever had a problem forgiving another person? If so,
why? Is there someone that you wish could forgive you? Who
do you think is hurt the most when someone can’t forgive
another person? Why? Also, is forgiveness always necessary?
Why or why not?
Journal 38
In your opinion, how would you describe a meaningful life?
What is most important in achieving a meaningful life?
How can one survive within a society that bombards us with
what we should buy, how we should live, what we should
look like and how we should think?
What is it in your life right now that is frustrating you and/or
creating stress for you? How do you deal with it? What can
you do to change it?
Journal 39
Describe your perfect day. Who would be with
you? Where would you go? What would you do?
What type of things would you talk about?
Journal 40
How are your grades? Are your parents aware of
where you stand in your classes? Make a pitch for
the grade you deserve in this class. What are
your plans for summer? Are you going to get to
do anything fun or exciting? What was the
best/worst summer you have ever had? Explain.