Allison's Book Bag

Creative Projects with Words and Art

Posted on: July 3, 2015

As a follow-up to my reviews of two favorite writing guides from my childhood, I thought it might be fun to share some of my own samples with you. They will be from different sections of Gifts of Writing, as well as different stages of my life. Unfortunately, I don’t have any from my students to share, as I’ve been allowing them to take their work home without my making copies. Maybe another time!

HandBoundJournalThe first sample is my most treasured creation. It’s a hand-bound book I created used the instructions in Gifts of Writing. To create such a book, one needs paper, cardboard, scissors, glue, fabric, cloth tape, and a ruler. My having created the journal during my early teens, I don’t recall how difficult the task is or what obstacles I faced. The Tchudis do note that such a process can take a long time. They warn to be careful when using the glue, due to it sticking to everything. Also, they said that a hard-bound book can be used for many of the writing projects they refer to in their guide. I used mine for a journal. You can see that through repeated use and the passage of time, the journal shows wear and time but I still like it better than all my store-bought ones.

The next sample, that of a nature entry, includes two variations: one from my teens and one from my adulthood. Some ideas that the Tchudis listed for such a project included taking note of seasonal changes for animals and plants, writing descriptive poems that draw on the senses, and including photographs or pressed flowers. Both of my entries are a simple combination of words with art. The first is kind of gushy while the second, influenced by reading of full-fledged guides to nature journals, is more objective. Although my entries about everyday nature aren’t all that faithful, one direct result of them were pet journals. Some of those latter now serve as my main source of memories about pets whom I have lost.


The final sample, that of an About Me poster, is one I created as a teacher for school. It’s more elaborate than my students have ever made. That’s because mine includes photographs, while theirs generally consist of magazine clippings. Since the first one, which I’m displaying here, I’ve created others. I enjoy the process of selecting photos, writing captions, and organizing everything onto poster board. My students similarly seem to like flipping through magazines, finding pictures and words that describe them, and creating About Me posters. I display all of our work the first of every new school, as a way for classmates and visitors to get acquainted.

My being hired to teach two writing clubs this summer prompted me to review Gifts of Writing and The Young Writer’s Handbook. Over the next few weeks, I’ll review other relevant books and let you know that clubs go. Stay tuned!

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