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Collecting Ephemera.

Today I asked a classroom of students to bring in artifacts from their lives.  I asked the classroom full of teachers to do the same.  I’m going to hunt for a few items for my new notebook as well.  I’m looking forward to seeing all of the “stuff” that represents each person’s life.

This is a great way to launch writer’s notebooks.  First, by decorating the cover, which Stacey & I have posted quite a bit about in the past. Then, by filling some pages with ephemera as well.  Often objects lead to the greatest stories.

I challenge you to pay particular attention to the paper that passes through your life in the next few days.  Junk mail, ticket stubs, clothing tags — all of these items reveal the life we are living right now.  It is our jobs as writers to capture our lives.  Give some of that ephemera a new home in your writer’s notebook and begin looking for the significance in the seemingly insignificant.

(Looking for more information on writer’s notebooks?  Then just do a key word search of our blog by using the search bar in the upper right corner of our blog.)

Ruth Ayres View All

Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.

8 thoughts on “Collecting Ephemera. Leave a comment

  1. I’d like to feature the results of your classroom experience the Ephemera Blog. Please email me directly through the link on my site. I’m excited to learn more about what you’re doing…


  2. This is an awesome thread! I am a photography person. Notice that I do not say photographer. My dad is a photographer. I knew that my ELL children needed more support then ABC’s and letters. I read Miss Fannie’s Hat as my read-aloud in the morning. Then I showed my students my precious moments collection (not all of it, just a few ‘precious’ pieces of memories and shared the memories). I shared real Lake Michigan sand and a few quick bits of stories. I shared my baby blanket (and story). Etc. THEN I pulled out a chart paper when I had photographs of all these items displayed. I recorded a word or two or list to remind myself.
    For example, Precious Moments, boy on knee, David engaged with a necklace and PM

    OR baby blanket flashlight book were the words by my baby blanket picture

    I think this is what Stacey is getting at with her HEART writing topic development. I just did it with photography with my students. I had them bring in their stuff and took lots and lots of pictures.

    Something to think about. GOOD THINKING – Photography captures memories, blogs captures moments in time. If I did this now I would have them save their pictures in a journal instead of on the big charts – maybe ???? Something to think about.


  3. Okay . . . here’s a question for you. As a teacher, as a writer, as an artist . . . what is the difference between a Writer’s Workbook and an Art Journal. My mother and sister keep art journals and ephemera is a huge part of that for them. I don’t keep any journal except my blog anymore and ephemera ends up in the trash for me. So, I think I’d better get it clear myself before I try to teach my students. And, I think maybe I’d better add glue sticks to the WW tub. 🙂


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