Using The Imagine Project in your Classroom, School, or Group:
Below is all the information you will need to bring The Imagine Project to your school including lessons plans, videos, and suggestions for music to play while students write (keep scrolling). The Imagine Project writing activity can be added to your literacy curriculum, wellness activity, mindfulness unit, social emotional support, multi-cultural units, autobiography, or other areas it might work best to support the emotional wellness of your students! The Imagine Project teaches kids a lifelong tool to support themselves emotionally! Good luck you will love the power of the project!!
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 2nd grade, a Kids Journal (3rd-6th), a Teen Journal, and an Adult Journal. We also have lesson plans to go with the journals (keep scrolling).
Using The Imagine Project in your school or program:
Teachers, counselors, admin, parents, etc. can download and print off the journal for each child as a part of a writing activity at school (there is also a digital version available). This can be done one time during the school year, or it can be done weekly or monthly throughout the year. If you have done The Imagine Project in your classroom and a student is struggling with something emotional, 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!
The younger students K-2 can use the Kindergarten journal which follows the book, Bryon the Caterpillar who Loved to Imagine.
The writing process can take anywhere from 1-4 weeks. The younger the student, the more time it will take. We recommend doing steps 1 and 2 together, step 3 separate or together with step 4, and then 5 and 6 together, and of course take a few minutes every day for 30 days for step 7.
Do’s and Don’ts:
- Have students read their stories together in a group (this is optional).
- Clap after each student reads their stories.
- Suggest respect, attention, and even wrapping the reader in love (especially with the little ones).
- Have students pick a positive power word that goes along with their story. This is helpful in supporting them believe in themselves.
- If you aren’t sure you can just be with their emotion, ask a counselor to be in the room with you. Here is a blog to help you help kids who are feeling emotional.
- See them without their story–see their resilience and how amazing they are!!
- Send home the parent letter before you do the project so parents are aware of what the kids are doing.
- Read the student’s story if you’ve told them you’re not going to read it.
- Send them home on a Friday after reading their story from step 3.
- Try to fix them, it’s okay if they cry, let them feel their emotion, care for them through it. In the words of Brene` Brown, hold the energy of, “I am here with you.” You aren’t doing therapy with them, you are just giving them a place to be heard.
Accommodations and Scaffold Ideas for kids with varying strengths.
Watch this video of teachers and counselors talking about how they’ve used The Imagine Project with their students.
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). Jason and Paige are featured in the book talking about their stories and writing for the book. Jay and Emily are from an Alternative High School. All big stories!
- Jay’s story about challenges at home with his mom and boyfriend.
- Emily’s story is also about abuse at home.
- 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.
This is an inspiring video that will help the kids when they are getting ready to write about new possibilities in their lives: Greatness within.
An awesome Beyonce video that I sometimes use at the end to inspire the kids to make a mark on the world: I was here.
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.
For more information you can read The Imagine Project: Empowering Kids to Rise Above, Drama, Trauma, and Stress (Yampa Valley Publishing, 2018) by Dianne Maroney, RN, MSN
“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
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+