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Help Your Students Write Their Story

Posted: November 30, 2020

By Rossana Villaflor, Teacher


In this modern age, our children are no strangers to social media and other applications that connect them to a broader world. However, one of the most important connections they often overlook is the connection they must build with themselves. A crucial key to helping our children develop and enhance their cognitive skills is by encouraging them to write!

As a child, my siblings and I experienced some obstacles growing up. When I was three years old, my parents separated, and my siblings and I were also separated from my parents for almost six years. We found ourselves moving from one relative’s household to another, and later on having to adjust to a new life and culture by elementary school when we immigrated to the United States. At 10 years old, I had a buildup of feelings and emotions from the hardships we encountered and that we never discussed with my family. Talking about our feelings was just something we didn’t do.

The day my fifth-grade teacher handed me a journal was the day I began to find some solace in the challenges we faced. My teacher would assign the class some prompts to write about to help get us started. There were many stories and thoughts that I finally released from my mind. From the school year and into the summer, I would write and write and write. Little by little, I learned to liberate my soul on the pages of my composition notebook. I didn’t always agree with my thoughts or feelings afterward, as I would re-read and reflect on my entries. Writing made me realize that I could allow myself to grow and think differently than I did before. I also realized that the most important thing writing gave me was an outlet for the noise in my head and the emotions that would sometimes overwhelm me, without the fear of being judged.

Today, our children are exposed to much more information than ever before, whether from the news, Internet, or social media platforms. Countless advertisements leverage these platforms to influence young people’s way of thinking and their behavior. But when are they ever asked to take a step back, listen to their own thoughts, and reflect on how they think? Taking 10-15 minutes each day to silence their phones and just write about their thoughts is a great start. Use the activities in Overcoming Obstacles’ Life Skills Lessons for Remote Learning to encourage your students to turn their daily experiences and thoughts into journal entries.

As Emily Dickinson wrote, “Forever is composed of nows.” Your students’ first journal entry could be the first page in their unique story about this unprecedented time in history. Help them release their story using the strategic topics from Overcoming Obstacles’ resources.

Overcoming Obstacles offers hundreds of K-12 life skills lessons designed to prepare young people for all of the challenges life presents. It’s free now and forever and available for download by creating an account at