Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Freedom Writers Response

Choose one of the following prompts and respond:

• Describe how writing in journals helps transform the lives of the students. How
does writing “free” the students from their pain?
• Do you or have you ever kept a diary? If so, why do/did you write? Do/did you
write about events, or emotions or both?
• Why do you think Ms. Gruwell makes the effort to take her students on field
trips to museums and treats them to fancy dinners, new books and computers?
How do these “luxuries” impact the students?
• Have you ever been treated to something special or out of the ordinary? How
did it make you feel?
• Describe a school trip or after-school outing that had a significant impact on
you. How did it make you feel? Compare this experience to traditional learning
within the boundaries of the classroom.
• Ms. Gruwell gives her students the opportunity to find success and graduate.
Do you think the students continued along the path of success without Ms.
Gruwell by their side? Why or why not?
• Ms. Gruwell is a shining role model and source of encouragement for her
students. Who is your role-model or biggest motivator in life? Who pushes you
to succeed? If this person does not exist, what would you want this person to
tell you?
• Erin Gruwell is determined to create a positive learning environment in which
her students learn about tolerance and are able to succeed.  She endures
many obstacles on her path to achieving this goal.  Do you have a goal that
you wish to attain? What steps are you taking or want to take in order to meet
this goal? What adversity have you encountered or anticipate on encountering
towards this path?


  1. Question 1:
    Writing in the journals transformed the kids lives a lot. Getting your feelings out in words and literate and not by action helps these types of students a lot. These kids are starting to realize the most important things in life like family and friends and learn the difference from right and wrong. They are finding the right path to take to success and starting to get their lives back. They are also realizing that they are their own hero's. They faced the most hardest parts in life and experienced it all. They are finding that they can finally be themselves and that they are important and people do care about them like their teacher.
    I think that the kids writing free in the journals helps them a lot. I feel like it is a good thing for them because they can write out how they feel in words instead of going and shooting someone. The kids are afraid to say what they really feel because they know they will get judged by what they think.

  2. (Bullet one) Writing can allow student to freely share stories they would hesitate to tell in person. Being able to tell someone something that causes stress or pain to you then it helps relieve yourself of those feelings.

  3. I think that Erin Gruwell's idea about giving her students the journals was a great idea. The journals helped them express themselves & their feelings. Also, they got to share their stories with Mrs. Gruwell and she helped them deal with their problems.

  4. Frankie Theiling

    Ms. Gruwell makes an effort makes an effort to take her students on field trips to museums and treats them to fancy dinners new books and computers. She does this so the students realize that she really cares. Also she wants them to experience things that they would of never been able to with a normal teacher there. The normal teacher there doesn’t care about there students. She treats them fancy dinners so they learn manners and ways of life. The new books and computers help them learn and learn technology and things that they need to know to be successful in life. Before she did all of this the students were in gangs and didn’t care about education. Thought that if they died they would be respected. They didn’t care about school or being successful. All the luxuries the teacher gave them and her effort impacted they’re lives completely. She even bought the luxuries herself by getting a second job!

  5. Starr:
    Describe how writing in journals helps transform the lives of the students. How
    does writing “free” the students from their pain?

    writing in journals help transform the lives of the students because they can write whatever they want and show how they truly feel. it helps them release what they have been holding in for so long. and with the option of the teacher reading them its their choice to let someone else in on their life. and that makes them feel as if they are not alone anymore and they have someone behind them that trusts them and believes that they are something. that they can do something with their lives not just be in a senseless fight.

  6. Question: Why do you think Ms. Gruwell makes the effort to take her students on field trips to museums and treats them to fancy dinners, new books and computers? How do these “luxuries” impact the students?
    Answer: I think she does this because she wants to show the kids what is outside of the horrible world they live in, and what is there to offer if you try in school and succeed. There "luxuries" impact the students because they make them feel special and worth it. For example, they deserve good things when they try hard and it shouldn't matter what race or color they are to deserve them.

    - Kirsten D.

  7. Hannah Donohue

    I think it was a great idea that Erin Gruwell gave her students journals.
    It helped the students express themselves & their emotions. It was a good way to calm themselves down too. Also, they wrote about their problems and they all aloud Mrs. Gruwell to read their journals. It helped her understand their problems and realize what they really were going through.

  8. Ms. Gruwell gives her students the opportunity to find success and graduate. Do you think the students continued along the path of success without Ms. Gruwell by their side? Why or why not?

    Yes, I think that most of the students continued along the path of success without Ms. Gruwell by their side. I think this because she encouraged and inspired them to do better things. Ms. Gruwell had a major impact on all of her student's lives. She set them up on the right path and changed the way they look at life. Since she did that, I think that most of her students kept trying to do what they thought was right, no matter who they were or where they came from. Even though they had very tough lives, I think that after they graduated they tried to make the best of what they had and took every opportunity they were given, remembering the life lessons she had taught them. Ms. Gruwell played such a significant role in their lives that it motivated them to make a difference.
    -Vanessa C.

  9. Personally I think that expressing yourself by writing is a great way to show your emotions. Its like talking to a dog, they don't judge you and don't understand what your saying. The information you put into writing can be hidden so no one knows what you mean. It can be a secret to yourself. It helps students let go of their worries, and have someone/something to talk to.

    --Kaela M

  10. Ms. Gruwell made such an effort toward her students because she cared about them and believed that they had potential to succeed in life. She wants to give her students the best education she can. At first when when they experience these "luxuries", they are indifferent but soon they start to appreciate all of the things that Ms. Gruwell does for them and how she tries to help them.

  11. (Bullet one) Writing can allow student to freely share stories they would hesitate to tell in person. Being able to tell someone something that causes stress or pain to you then it helps relieve yourself of those feelings, knowing that someone can assimilate with the problems you encounter can help you overcome them. Even if that "someone" isn't a real person. In the case of Ms. Gruwell's students, they had so much to right about that so many people didn't understand but once it was out it appealed to people and they would be respected and recognized for their actions.

  12. Ms. G wants her class to succeed. Not just because thats her favorite class but because they as in the class, are enemies and are from different backgrounds this is her chance to unite them as one. While taking them to field trips this helps them realize how to make their own life better than it is now. By taking the kids on trips and by giving them computers to help them this gives them an advantage towards some other students or other people in their family, their life. She did not help them out because it was her job as a teacher but it was to unite and create a new life for some of these young students.

    --Ryan O

  13. at one point in my life i did keep a diary, i was at this "camp" where self reflection was a daily task. everyday we would be given something to write about whether it was the past, present, or future. i mostly wrote about how i felt about my life and things that had occurred.

  14. The main reason Ms. Bruwell had such a success with her students is that she actually tried to connect with them and understand where their are coming from; not to just neglect and judge them based on their appearances like the other white teachers did. Since Ms. Bruwell did this the students felt safe and comfortable with her. Thus, she earned their respect and were able to succeed with their high school carriers. - Justin Lettieri

  15. -Tommy S
    Writing can always helps free the students, and they can transform their lives onto a piece of paper. They can share their biggest experiences that made a difference in themselves. I think alot of these freedom writers are the same, and they can relate to each other. They release their deepest fears. You always feel better about yourself after you write, and it helps you clear your head.

  16. The movie "Freedom Writers" was a moving and real story about unprivileged teenagers who, despite their struggles outside the classroom walls and with the immense help of Ms. Gruwell, overcame the difficulties and not only improved their academic life, but their home life as well. One way they did this was by writing in a journal every day. This helped them transform their lives because not only could they now let out their emotions and relief the pressures of their home life, but they could also feel as though they had a voice in the world, and that they were important. In this way, they were free.

  17. Writing in a journal can allow students with troubles to freely express themselves and release their stress. Students don't have to have someone else read their journal, but just releasing their day to day events can dramatically change the way a person reacts. Wether a person writes a diary, a rap or a poem they are still releasing their upsetting inner emotions.
    -Jessica Prost

  18. Ms. Gruwell’s journals helped the students express themselves and take out the pain in anger in their lives. I have never kept a diary but from the movie I feel like a diary is a great way to express your emotions. The luxuries that Ms. Gruwell give them shows them that they are just special as the students that receive these luxuries on a daily basis. The field trips Ms. Gruwell takes them to impacted them because they thought no one out there understood what they were going through but it showed that their were kids out there going through the same things. Ms. Gruwell gave them the opportunity to graduate and be successful witch is the biggest achievement. My motivator is my mom she strives me to do my best but I love this movie and it moved me deeply

  19. Ms. Gruwell gives her students the opportunity to find success and graduate. Do you think the students continued along the path of success without Ms. Gruwell by their side? Why or why not?

    I think that some of the students will continue on their path of learning and success . They seem to have a fire and passion for a better life in them. Some of them, though, will fall back into bad habits and think that their educations mean nothing. Others though, the smartest ones, will realize their greatest weapon is their minds and will continue to fight through their hardships by using their minds and knowledge of the world. I think that they will continue to learn because Mrs. Gruwell made them realize that they can change their future and become who they want to be.

    ~Kristina Modica

  20. Marc cotter

    The journals was a great idea to give to the kids, because it was something that was their own, which they dont get alot of things that is their's. It really is a great way to help them express how they feel and realize how they can change. Also by buying these journals for the kids, they realize that people do care, and what they do is wrong.

  21. Mrs.Gruwell really helped to change these kids and relate to the future... learn from the mistake from the past. Her idea was good that they should all write their life in their journals. This way they could express and connect with the kids about whats they are all facing and have to go through. The writing frees the students from the pain because its puts it out there in the world and you try and change what became of you and let a new pathway shine in your future. They have a chance, even discriminated and challenged by obstacles of every day. Mrs.Gruwell let them have a chance.... change. College. - Julia Frangeskos

  22. Writing in Journals can transform the lives of kids alot. Some kids can't tell anyone about their lives and what goes on in them because you have to trust someone to tell them. The kids trusted Ms. G to read their journals and it takes alot to talk about your life and the problems in it. Writing in the journals Freed the students because they talked about their problems and didn't hold it in. If you dont tell anyone about your problems, then lifes just going to keep going on the same. But if you talk to someone about them, then you can go through a completely different life, and even more, a better life. ~Lauren Dyer

  23. Luke Jurow
    The journals help free the students because they have something to put all of their feelings and hardships into. They also have somebody to share their feelings with when Ms G reads the diaries. They feel like they can relate to somebody when writing in their journals because Anne Frank was in a similar situation as them when she was writing a journal. It frees the students pain because they can express their pain in their journals

  24. marissa iacobelli

    Wrighting in the journels helped free the kids from there pain because they got to right whatever they wanted. They could right anything that happend to them or anythign there going through and anything at all they wanted to share in this journal. It was a way for them to vent their feelings. Expressing thir feeling and letting it out made them feel better, and if the choose to share it to others it made them feel even better. They learned that other kids were going through the exact same thing as them and much they all sufford as a whole and how they were all creating it...... yea

  25. - Jarred C.
    Writing in journals helps transform the lives of students because they can express their feelings and thoughts without telling anyone else, unless they want another person to. Writing in the journals helps the students be free from their pain because they can write out heir thoughts instead of having them locked up in their head. It’s like telling someone what you really think of them instead of keeping it way from them.

  26. This transforms the students because it was a place were they could reflect on there lives. It frees the students of there pain because they can just let go and just write about whats happening and express them selves without someone judging them

    ~Ryan Willmott

  27. The Journals helped them express their feelings. When they let Ms. G read them they felt as if they could trust someone with their life stories. When they wrote 'Free', it let them get their anger, pain and sadness out. Instead of holding it all in and eventually exploding. It was basically an expressive writing assignment.

    -Bailee Nappi.

  28. Writing in Journals is a good way to express you, No matter what your feeling good or bad you can express yourself by writing what’s on your mind, Based on how you feel about your writing you can keep it to yourself or share with ours. Writing helps release any negative emotions you have, stress and much more. I like to write in journals because I like to jot down ideas I have and get them down on paper.
    - Nijai

  29. Question 6-

    I think that the children definitely continued on the path of excellence. I think that she empowered them to stay on this path for life. In the movie one of her biggest struggles was to make the kids realize that learning is the best way to better there lives. Once she did this there was no way to turn back. They learned through her that hard work and perseverance were the only ways to better their lives, and why would they want to stop.

  30. Ms. Gruwell makes the effort to take her students on field trips to museums and treats them to fancy dinners, new books and computers because she realizes that all those students need is a loving person to steer them in the right direction. She is the only person those kids look up to and trust, this is because she took the time to get to know them. She wanted to understand them and help them through hardship because she understood them. She may not have grown up in a gang but her life experiences somehow related to those students. Ms. Gruwell bought tyhem new things and took them on trips to show them that she really wants them to succeed in life and go far. She shows them that she believes they are more then what the administrators say they are, they are more then gang members, they are human beings just like everyone else. By buying new things for them she is giving them new opportunities, also because of the journals she understands the daily struggles of her students which makes her have a better understanding of the book selections she should choose for them. She picks books the students can relate to which makes them more eager to learn. By taking them to fancy restuarants and fiels trips she gives the students opportunities they ordinarily would not have, it provides them with a safe environment for a short period of time and shows them that if they work hard they one day will b able to visit those places frequently. Ms. Gruwell shows the children the meaning of love by touching there hearts. Ms. Gruwell has largely impacted each and everyone one of her students lives just by making a simple effort.

  31. Samantha boland
    the journals free the students because it was an out-let for them. they did not have to keep there problems inside. It allowed them to think about other thing not only they problems the students could express themselfs

  32. My dad is my role model. He pushes me to do my best in everything. When ever i do bad in school he pushes me to do better and when i do he always congratulates me.
    Mackenzie Farrington