How it works:
Teenage Diaries allows the student to enter
other teenagers’ private worlds by seeing and reading their diaries.
The students use the Internet to read excerpts from perhaps the most
widely read work by a teenager, The Diary of Anne Frank.
They listen to aural diary projects, ponder the difference between
a novel and a memoir, and reflect on the influence of teenage diaries
and memoirs in J.D. Salinger’s novel Catcher In The Rye.
The students make their own blank bound books and transform them into
diaries--written, mixed media, or aural. They fill them with their
thoughts, poems, mementos, artwork, and ephemera. The only requirements
are to include a personal “tag” or logo; an interview with a student
or teacher; a poem, prose or “rap”; a reflection about entering high
school in the next year; and a collage.
Students read for perspective, understand the human experience,
and apply language skills. They understand and apply media, techniques,
make connections between visual arts and other disciplines; understand
the visual arts in relation to history and cultures; and choose and
evaluate a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas.
Required materials include computers with Internet access, 8
1/2” x 11” blank and cardstock paper, white glue, masking tape, scissors,
pen and pencils. markers, paint, crayons, fabric, and found materials.
This unit was created for 8th grade students at the Institute for
Collaborative Education, a small 6-12th grade NYC public school. The
students create “physical” and digital artwork inspired by their studies
in Humanities. Although the majority of I.C.E. students stay on through
high school, they view this year as a transitional one. Most of them
are becoming teenagers and everyone will miss classmates who go off
to new schools. The students are encouraged to write about the things
on their minds, including their big decisions about school and the
pressures of being a teenager. Working on the diary at night is their
Art class homework for an entire month.
Teenage Diaries helps students realize
that their stories and histories and those of and about their peers
are important. They encounter two very important and relevant books,
develop their personal writing skills, and physically create a work
that reflects their unique personalities.
Explore some of the numerous web links about the Diary of Anne
Meisler wears many hats at the Institute for Collaborative Education
in NYC. She is the Internship Coordinator, Admissions Director, and
teaches art at this small progressive school. Meryl has received a
Disney American Teacher Award in visual arts, serves on the Teachers
Network Board of Directors, and is a consultant to the Whitney Museum’s
online learning department while being an accomplished artist in her
English Language Arts