In their own words

Journaling lets fourth-graders tell their stories

-Messenger photos by Hans Madsen
Azalya Hill, 9, a fourth-grade student at Duncombe Elementary School, puts her four-color pen back into the spiral of her Creating My Story journal Friday morning.

For Duncombe Elementary School fourth-grader Azalya Hill, 9, writing about her life in a journal is already a familiar thing to do.

She has two, actually — a diary that she records her daily feelings and thoughts in and another book reserved for special occasions.

“I also have a journal that I use when I go on vacation.” she said.

For the next 10 weeks, she, along with all her fellow fourth graders, will have another journaling experience as part of the Students In The Arts Creating Your Story project.

Ann Halbur, SITA president and administrator, traveled to every elementary school in Fort Dodge Thursday and Friday to hand the journals out to the students and explain the project.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Ann Halbur, president and administrator for the Students In The Arts Foundation, explains the journaling books given to the fourth-grade students in Fort Dodge during a visit to Duncombe Elementary School Friday morning. The project is called Creating My Story. It is in addition to the Students In The Arts program.

“Each week you’ll write about a different skill,” she said. “The first one is creativeness.”

During each school day, a period of time will be set aside for the students to write in their books.

“It’s J time.” she said.

At the end of the week, each student will get a sticker for completing that week’s entries.

Halbur emphasized that what the students write in their journals is for their eyes only.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Nathan Snipes, 9, a fourth-grade student at Duncombe Elementary School, helps hand out Creating My Story journaling books to his classmates Friday morning.

“You’re going to be journaling your own story,” she said. “You’re valuable. You’re the only one that can read this.”

The students were even supplied with a special pen to keep in the spiral binding of their journal.

They can pick the ink color that suits their mood.

“This pen has four colors.” she said.

The students also get a bracelet to wear and at the end of the 10 weeks, a special bonus.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
The students participating in the Creating My Story journaling project will cover a new subject each week as they write in their books.

“You’ll get a free gift card to Fort Frenzy.” she said.

That news was received with a loud cheer and applause.

So was her next statement.

“Are you ready for J time?” she asked.

More cheering and applause.

Nathan Snipes, 9, was also looking forward to creating his story in the journaling project. He was among the students who helped hand out the books to the other students.

Subjects covered in the journal include creativeness, responsibility, focus, participation, confidence, expressiveness, determination, dependability, collaboration and excellence.

Hill was particularly looking forward to the expressiveness week.

Some of the other topics, she said she was familiar with.

“Some of it I know from my brother.” she said.

In addition to the fourth-grade students in Fort Dodge, Halbur said that 61 journals will also be distributed in the Manson Northwest Webster Community School District.

“I hope to get to more school districts.” she said.

Halbur is grateful to the many who volunteered their time to the project and those who helped sponsor it.

The journaling project is in addition to the annual Students In The Art project.