Some are middle/high school girls with depression, very low self-worth and an eating disorder, while others might be middle/high school boys with heightened anger and asperger/autistic characteristics. And some are any combination.
Every child comes with a complex case. There is no template.
I continue to develop a wide variety of projects that attempt to meet their very complex needs. Here is one of the projects I have had some success with for students who are paralyzed by their pursuit of perfection.
I purchase Keri Smith's Wreck this Journal for my students and encourage them to destroy it. While you might think all children would love to be given permission to decimate a book, you would be surprised how many children find this task to be at best tedious and at worst torture.
Here are some of things we talk about:
- Perfection is not motivating. Perfection is paralyzing.
- Some of the best things in life can't be planned. In fact, sometimes the best things in life are mistakes that we make the most of.
- Mistakes are our friends.
- If you're not making mistakes, you're not living.
- Mistakes are not only ok, they are necessary if learning and success is to take place.
- Society hides our mistakes and failures but flaunts successes. This can be deceiving.
- The only way to make your journal unique is to wreck it.
Here is what one of my students had to say about her experience with this project:
I found the "Wreck This Journal" project incredibly challenging and difficult. To push myself to deface any sort of material (let alone a book) felt like a death wish. It was a tedious task at first; being told to tear out a page or doodle on the front cover.. but as the project moved forward I was able to let go and embrace the experience... I think spending time on this project has given me a new outlook on life, and made me realize that striving for perfection is an unrealistic and costly goal.