The Freedom Writers Diary Sophomore Year: Spring 1996 Journal Prompts Choose one of the following prompts to respond to in your journal. Your journal entry needs to be a minimum of one page, but please feel free to write more if you have something important you would like to share with me! Diary 41: Meeting a Holocaust Survivor In this entry, the Freedom Writer’s neighborhood is compared to the world of those people trapped during the Holocaust. Think of a time when you’ve felt trapped or limited by your surroundings or something about yourself you could not change. Describe the situation and what you did when faced by these difficulties. Diary 42: The Woman Who Sheltered Anne Frank’s Family In this entry, the writer tells of a visit from Miep Gies, who tells the students, “You, my friends, are the true heroes.” Come up with a definition for the word “hero” and describe how you or someone you know fits that definition. Diary 43: “Moment” After meeting Miep Gies, this Freedom Writer states, “They wanted us to seize the moment. Ms. Gruwell wanted us to realize that we could change the way things were…That’s when it all became crystal clear. Anne’s message of tolerance was to become our message.” Think of chances and opportunities in your life. What is a moment that you have seized or could seize? What did you do to seize it? Diary 44: Zlata Accepts Our Invitation This student writes about expecting Zlata to decline the Freedom Writer’s invitation to visit and then being surprised when it is accepted. Think of your own experiences. Describe a time when someone or something exceeded your expectations. What did it feel like? Have you ever exceeded someone else’s expectations? Diary 45: Dinner with Zlata This entry describes one Freedom Writer’s experience meeting Zlata Filipovic and how Ms. Gruwell promises there is more to come. Think back to the beginning of the Freedom Writer’s freshman year. Describe how the students in Ms. Gruwell’s class have changed since then. What was the catalyst for their change? Diary 46: Diverse Friendships In this entry, the writer’s father doesn’t like her best friend because of her race. Think of race relations in your community. Write to explain how people of different races interact in your community. Diary 47: “I am a human being…” The writer of this entry recounts how Zlata Filipovic was asked what her racial identity was during a presentation. Zlata’s response was “I’m a human being.” Describe a time when you wish you could drop your racial, cultural, or gender identity. Explain a time when you felt proud of that same identity. Diary 48: Terrorism This Freedom Writer recounts how Zlata wrote about “Bosnian children becoming ‘soldiers’ and the soldiers becoming ‘children.’” Think of your own life. Write to explain a time when you felt pressure to be more of an adult or when you saw adults behave more like children. Diary 49: Day of Tolerance: A Field Trip The writer of this entry describes how negative thoughts can turn into violence. Consider examples of violence in the world today. What types of negative thoughts inspire these acts? What can you do to persuade people to release their negative thoughts? Diary 50: Doing Speed The author of this entry has an addiction to drugs and states, “In some sick way I wish I could get caught so all this lying could be behind me.” Why would someone wish to get caught doing something they constantly try to hide? Diary 51: Basketball for Bosnia: Weight The author of this entry writes that she has “always been the oddball” and “never felt accepted” because of her weight. Have you ever felt like an “oddball” or that you didn’t fit in? Can you think of a time when you might have made someone else feel that way? How would you handle it if you heard someone making fun of your sister, brother, or friend? Diary 52: Divorce This Freedom Writer shares the experiences of having to keep a family secret. Reflect on a time when you were responsible for keeping a secret. What was that like for you? Did you keep the secret or share it with someone? Diary 53: Friends Join Class The student in this entry shares the joy of being able to return to Ms. Gruwell’s class the following year and having new friends join the class. Think of a time when you felt very lucky to have a teacher or mentor you clicked with, was able to do a project that really meant something to you, or went to a school that fit you. Describe why and how it made a difference in your life.
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