Bring the Imagine Project to your school or organization!
Kids and teens today are overwhelmed with the stress, trauma, and drama of everyday life. Sadly they have few resources to help and empower themselves to overcome and move forward. Stress in the classroom (and life) brings an inability to concentrate, anxiety, depression, anger outbursts, and difficulty with relationships. The Imagine Project is a simple, yet powerful tool/activity that can be used as part of a literacy program in schools K-12, by counselors with individuals or groups, as an activity in families to bring parents and kids closer, or by kids themselves.
My Imagine Journal™ is an interactive 7-step expressive writing activity that gives kids and teens (and adults) the opportunity to write about an old story that might be holding them back, let it go, and Imagine a new story. It’s a powerful tool that brings increased self-awareness, builds resilience, stress management, and gives them positive direction in their lives—and kids and teens love it! All while getting students to write! We have a journal for Kindergarten through 3rd grade, a Kids Journal (4th-6th), a Teen Journal, and an Adult Journal. We also have lesson plans to go with the journals.
For over 30 years, researchers have been studying the effects of expressive writing. In most studies, participants are asked to take 15 to 30 minutes to write about an emotionally challenging, even traumatic incident in their lives. Typically, they are asked to do this once a day for three to five days. Even though the time spent writing can be emotional and make the writer feel vulnerable, the long-term benefits are positive. Research has found that expressive writing can
- improve grade point average,
- improve working memory,
- improve writing skills,
- decrease school dropout rates,
- enhance immune function (fewer illnesses and fewer trips to the doctor),
- decrease blood pressure,
- promote wound healing after surgery,
- decrease anxiety and depression,
- help people feel better about life, and
- lessen post-traumatic intrusion and avoidance symptoms.
Study measurements were done months, even years, after the writing exercises and positive results still existed. Pretty good stuff!
Using The Imagine Project in your school or program:
- Teachers download and print off the journal for each child as a part of a writing project at school. This can be done one time during the school year, on a weekly or a monthly basis, and continue to use it throughout the year. If you have done The Imagine Project in your classroom and if a student is struggling with something emotionally, ask them to write a story about what’s bothering them and bring it to you. What a great chance for the student to talk about an issue and write!
- Bring a staff member from the project to your school or classroom to do a 1-2 hour presentation about implementing the project—getting the kids excited to write!
- We also love doing assemblies! It’s an inspirational program that gives two messages: Everyone has a story and You can write your own story in life. This is an highly motivating and powerful 30 to 90 minute program that teaches kids self-awareness and compassion. Please contact Dianne at Dianne@theimagineproject.com for more information. The schools can then do My Imagine Journal in the classroom and/or add workshops throughout the day focusing on goals, kindness, compassion, everyone has a story, and imagining your future.
Videos: Here are videos you can use throughout your lesson plan while working with the students doing The Imagine Project:
- Use this video as an introduction to the project: Imagine Project Intro video
- Use this video showing teens talking about doing The Imagine Project: Teen Video
- Kamia’s Imagine story (teen):
- Here are more videos of 5th graders telling their Imagine story and talking about the project:
These videos are more teen content (appropriate for an alternative high school program). They are two people who are featured in the book talking about their stories and writing for the book.
- Jason Landers talks about being bullying in school and the military.
- Paige Butkus tells her story of divorce and being sexually assaulted at 16 years old.
- Garrett is in a correctional facility/high school. His story may be difficult to hear, but inspiring.
This is an inspiring video that will help the kids when they are getting ready to write about new possibilities in their lives: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ck7CytzKuhg
An awesome Beyonce video that I sometimes use at the end to inspire the kids to make a mark on the world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i41qWJ6QjPI
Writing stirs emotions. Different music creates different emotions. Here are some suggestions for music to use while the kids are writing:
Step One: “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera
Step Two: “Story of my Life” One Direction
Step Three: “Into Dust” by Mazzy Star, “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers, and “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley
Step Four: “Just Imagine It” by MKTO and “Rise Up” by Audra Day
Step Five: “Brave” by Sara Bareilles
Step Six: “This is my Fight Song” by Outfit Studios
Other music suggestions: “Roar” by Katy Perry, “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus, “Life is Worth Living” by Justin Bieber, “Fly” by Maddie and Tae, “I Love this Life” by Locash, “Imagine” by John Lennon, “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw, “Roll up Your Sleeves” by Meg Mac, “Renegades” by X Ambassadors, “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers, “Sideways” by Travis Meadows, “Be Yourself” by Seth Alley, “Fly” by Maddie and Tae.
“After doing The Imagine Project, I hear my students saying to someone who is having a bad day, or is sad or mad about something, ‘Imagine it getting better!’ I think they are learning to grasp that they may go through tough times, but they can influence what happens next. They are also more compassionate, aren’t as quick to judge, and they are comfortable and confident sharing their written stories with each other now. The best part—because of The Imagine Project they LOVE TO WRITE—EVERYTHING!”
Michelle Parker, 5th Grade Teacher
Enjoy! Email me with any questions, Dianne firstname.lastname@example.org
Professional Development Inservice
Dianne (or a staff member) can come into your organization or school to teach staff how to use The Imagine Project. It’s a simple technique that can be incorporated by reading, The Imagine Project: Empowering Kids to Rise Above Drama, Trauma, and Stress, or using the lesson plans. Some teachers and other staff members feel more comfortable taking a class on how to use it before incorporating into their literacy program or other formats. This education segment is typically a 2 hour class. Contact email@example.com for more information. Thank you!
Download My Imagine Journal™
My Imagine Journal™
My Imagine Journal™
for ages 6-12
My Imagine Journal™
for ages 13-17
My Imagine Journal™
for ages 18+