Originally posted by Neil MacQueen in a journaling/creative writing brainstorming thread:
MAILBOX TO GOD
SENDING A LETTER TO GOD
RECEIVING LETTERS from GOD
At the top of Bible Point at the YMCA Camp of the Rockes is a "Mailbox to God" full of notebooks, paper and pens. Older kids I've taken there have enjoyed READING what other kids are thinking, then adding their own comments.
Here's a picture of it:
Imagine, then, in any workshop, or in the creative writing workshop, that you had an old-fashioned mailbox which had a letter from God in it to introduce the lesson, and into which children could post letters back to God about the lesson... answering perhaps, God's Questions that were read in the opening letter.
One of the neat things about the Bible Point mailbox was reading the brief stories and prayers written by other "hikers". Some of the writings went back years. Adapt this idea to have your OLDER STUDENTS LEAVE MESSAGES and PRAYERS FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN.
This "leave messages for" idea can include photos/drawings.
Reasons why this works:
1) Anonymity. Especially for older kids, writing to the future and to kids who are younger is 'safer' than expressing your deep thoughts in front of your peers.
2) Older kids feel less self-conscious writing something "for the younger kids" than for themselves or their peers. This bit of 'mis-direction" helps them get past their fears and open up.
It would be easy to just come up with a cheap looking mailbox/shoebox, but why not go ALL OUT and get a real mailbox on a post that can be put in or brought into the workshop?
...That's real Workshop Model-thinking there
Imagine as you pray over the mailbox, you invite a student to flip up the red flag as the "amen".