Make Your Own Wreck This Journal Teen Program

Where: Hespeler Idea Exchange, program room
When: March 18, 6:30-8:00, March Break
Ages: 10-19
Attendance: 21 attendees (approximately half under 12 years old and half over 12, 5 boys, 16 girls), 2 volunteers
Type: Drop-In

20150318_192347Description: Wreck This Journal by Kerri Smith is a special kind of book that encourages its “readers” to think outside the box, and redefine journaling. Every page has a different, often offbeat, instruction. Sew this page. Drip coffee on this page. Take this book for a walk. Write the same word over and over. Attendees were encouraged to think up their own instructions, and together they created their own book of 33 new pages.

In this program teens and tweens:

  • Play a high energy “icebreaking” activity
  • Learn about Wreck This Journal with a fun Powerpoint of inspiration
  • Have Design Time to create their own pages (with the help of Inspiration Sheet)
  • Decorate their own cardstock cover (with rhinestones, stick on pearls, googly eyes, glitter letters, etc)
  • Use a simple book binding technique to sew all the pages together
  • Complete some of their new pages together

Reflection:
20150319_073311This program was a hit. Some kids had never heard of Wreck This Journal before, and some had already completed one – but all of them were completely immersed in decorating their covers and creating new pages. Tweens who were not able to think of anything right away looked at The Inspiration Sheet I made, which had plenty of cool ideas to get them started. Everyone made at least one page.

The level of excitement was extremely high, and some of their pages are very creative:

  • Draw the Universe…impossible!
  • Write your adventures here:
  • Draw a map! Make this map detailed
  • Eat this page!
  • Put your chewed gum here
  • Write your own secret language here
  • Draw a rainbow in a different order

I was impressed that many of them were able to complete the book binding without any one-on-one assistance. However the ones who struggled were able to work with our volunteers, or use a stapler. I also created a slide and handout: Book Binding Instruction Sheet.

20150318_192353I had created 9 example pages in advance: finish this story, drop coffee here, write 3 titles for your future autobiography, draw yourself in 50 years doing something awesome, finish this maze using an unconventional writing utensil, etc. These were GREAT activity pages for them to complete after they finished their covers.

While th20150318_200639e volunteers were photocopying the pages, I had the participants decorate their covers. Once they finished they could come to the front and grab some candy – at this point I asked to take a picture of their covers. It was also an awesome opportunity to tell them about our button making services, and another school-aged March Break Event called The Idea Factory. I had premade 15 craft-related buttons. Two of the younger participants and I started a glitter club with our matching “When In Doubt Just Add Glitter” buttons. Everyone loves getting free stuff.

I will definitely be running this program (or some variation of it – perhaps explorers’ themed) in the future. Next time I will make sure I have enough time for Feedback Sheets (maybe I’ll trade buttons for sheets), and I may shorten the icebreaker as it was a bit longer than I expected.

For a list of materials needed and a timed outline, check out Overview Sheet.

Downloadable Resources

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Have you ever run a Wreck This Journal program at your library? If so let me know! And if not, feel free to use my resources, just make sure to send me pictures!

One thought on “Make Your Own Wreck This Journal Teen Program

  1. […] Participants can make as many pieces “Bad Art” (sculptures, paintings, collages, etc.) as they want, and in the final 20 minutes we’ll set up a Bad Art Exhibition. Everyone can browse and cast 3 votes for their favourite pieces of Bad Art. The winner gets the trophy. This program will appeal to the same type of tweens who attended the Wreck This Journal program last year. […]

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