I hurry in, backpack slung over one shoulder, and sit down at my usual spot close to the door. The Fishbowl classroom is filled with students; I’m the last to arrive at our small Literature and the Land class today. Today’s prompt author is already writing their opening assignment on the whiteboard opposite the large windows. I take a deep breath and grab my writing utensil and journal out of my bag, ready to write.
The prompts for these five-minute warm-ups at the beginning of each class are written by different students every week and exist to connect our in-class readings to our daily lives here at Chewonki. They are usually simple and designed to get our creative juices flowing. I always look forward to them at the start of class because they allow me to focus my thoughts and let them flow from my head through my pencil onto paper. The journal entries are compiled, along with other assigned writings, in a small black journal we keep for this purpose. Some of my greatest epiphanies thus far at Chewonki have occurred as I write these short journal entries, or stem from thoughts I had as a result of the prompt.
After five minutes of writing, students get the opportunity to share what they wrote with the rest of the class, if they so choose. Many times the prompts spark ironic, personal, somber, or satirical writings and everything in between. A surprising result of these writings that I didn’t anticipate is the feeling that I’ve gotten to know my classmates better. Together we share our thoughts and ideas, and grow closer with each other. This sense of community and closeness is one of the things I most value about my time here, and what I feel Chewonki represents.
Bailey Novy, Antigo High School, Antigo, WI