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TeachNet NYC  |  Lesson Plans  |  Teachnet

Teenage Diaries

Project URL:

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.

Standards addressed:  
Students read for perspective, understand the human experience, and apply language skills. They understand and apply media, techniques, and processes;
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.

Materials used: 
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.

The students:
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.

Overall value:
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 Frank.



About the teacher:
Meryl 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 own right.


Subject Areas: 

English Language Arts  
Visual Arts  

Grade Levels: 




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