The Lightning Strike

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Why does Ewart assign journals?

English teacher James Ewart thinks students are intimidated by the writing process.

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It was another day grading essays at Broward College in 2006 when English teacher James Ewart decided that he was going to change his students’ choppy, incoherent writing. It was then when the idea of “daily journals” came up. He wanted to give students ten minutes of quiet space dedicated to writing so they wouldn’t be intimidated by the writing process.

When Ewart started assigning students journals, he read all the entries and reviewed their improvements. Today he does not read the journals.  Out of privacy, he lets students vent and write their thoughts about anything without the fear of being judged.

Throughout his years of teaching, he says that if students take the journals seriously, they will make great improvements. “(journals) break writing blocks,” AP Language and Literature teacher Ewart said. He even writes his own journals for ten to fifteen minutes a day.

From teaching in Korea to the Dr. Michael Krop classroom, Ewart believes that writing ten minutes a day does make a difference.

Junior Kevin Arrias kept his pen moving for ten minutes about the "Vegas Shooting." He starts off his journal as if he is talking to another person. "59 dead. That's too many don't you think." His thoughts about gun laws and this act of terrorism pour out. He writes of the shooter's spotless background and tough childhood, claiming that the news should reveal the criminal act for what it is.

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Why does Ewart assign journals?