Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Freedom Writers Diary: How A Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them

This story is one that began shortly after the HISTORIC 1992 LA Riots, where violence and racial tensions reached an all-time high. It was Woodrow Wilson High School where Erin Gruwell decided to take action after taking a job teaching those that were declared "unteachable".

Entries made through these diaries were hard to digest when it hits you that these kids' situations were successful if they just lived through the day alive.

But one day, things took a strange turn, when Erin thought she reached her limit and was about to give up, she found a drawing done by a student and explained, irately, that was how a Holocaust happened/started. Only to a surprise that NONE of these kids knew what the Holocaust was, but they were ALL succumbed to gang violence in some aspect. It was THEN & THERE that Erin changed the core of her curriculum  and teach them all tolerance of one another in/out of the classroom.

It was through books like  'Durango Street'  and stories like 'The Diary Of Anne Frank' that these kids found something they could FINALLY relate to! Reading books like 'The Diary Of Anne Frank'  gave these kids more than stimulation of the mind, it also gave them energetic excitement.When Erin had assigned for them to write a letter to a survivor of this story, Miep Gies, excitement doesn't begin to describe their reaction. Certain ideas flowed through the classroom, but initially having fundraisers and bake sales and what need be - to have the honor of having Miep Gies herself come and speak.

It was Junior Year, 1996, when the class had read the classic novel 'The Color Purple' by Alice Walker and MANY of the female students felt and understood the story of Celie, because many of them suffered abuse or seen it all the same.  While there were some students who didn't have a choice to transfer out of Woodrow, remember there were some MADE THE CHOICE TO STAY!! and seen the difference it made.

Through the Freedom Writers as a group and as individuals, seeing what they've overcome, it was the first with a choice, a choice to graduate. For some it was the first of their families to go to college.

Meanwhile newspaper articles started flowing from the success of the Freedom Writers after Erin had submitted any entry to win 'The Anne Frank Spirit Award' and from there - things exploded!
Amid their surroundings, the work and determination these kids had was indescribable when graduation came.

Erin Gruwell and the REAL Freedom Writers

The End Result:

I LOVED This Book!
The REAL Erin Gruwell

The odds these kids had to face was something insurmountable. What Erin gave these kids was something they could live and pass on! Throughout these stories, it's PROOF that your surroundings DO NOT have to make who you are or become!!

In 2007 a movie was made featuring the many experiences shared through both Erin and the students of Room 203 titled 'Freedom Writers' starring two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank as the remarkable teacher Erin Gruwell.


  1. Every time i watch the movie freedom writers it motivates me to keep trying to do what other people think i CANT do. It takes only one person to make a change and Ms. Gruwell made a change not only to those students but to their families, friends and everyone around them. I wish i had a teacher like that when i was going through high school, i know my life would've been different


  2. juan i wish that your expectations will come true. And Ms. Gruwell you are a daemon.

  3. This moviie is amazing ... when i watch it i just think by myself what about if a was like those kids ... is amazing how a person that you dont even know can change your life... living in a life of danger ... This movie makes me realize that i can be better and do things that i thought i couldn't do... It inspired to become someone better and making my parents proud of me... I wish i could have a teacher like Ms. Erin that motivate me every single day not to giv3e up... Im in high school and i really wish i could i teacher like that... im gonna a junior and i know the last two years are gonna be hard and difficult but i believe in myself and i think i can do good this two last years...

    Jessica Acedo

  4. i love the movie im goin to get the book and read all day long , im 12 years old and i know that we all have a dream GO FREEDOM WRITERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. i lovee thee movie i really want to read thee book it seem very intrestinqq :)

  6. Lesson like this movie doesn't exist better. In my last job, my boss gave for teachers and administrative staff notebooks for describing how was our day, our feeling and else. Today, i understood her intention, it was to create an big family among those people whose, each one, had a dream to be accomplished. Thank all freedom writers and Ms. Gruwell for having given for the world this great story.

  7. i just want to know, how are the kids doing now? the ones who has been to miss erin's class?

  8. never seen something i could relate to so well

  9. This book has inspired me so much that looking at my school has shown me that these kids and myself have so much in common. It has shown me so much that this life has to offer. I know just being a freshman high school student is a difficult task for anyone. This book made me realize that no matter my cercumstances, i should never settle for less.

  10. This restores my faith in mankind. Thank God for people like this lady I pray that all kids in these situations meet a person who can show them the light!!

  11. this movie is inspiring...to me and motivates me to move forward in life...

  12. this story motivates us and gives us hope as human beings.
    i loved the moved and i and going to read the book.
    it tells us never to give up and that people with always try to stomp on you but as a human being never care what any other person say just try to move forward.
    P.S. i hoped after watching the movie that i had a teacher like Ms. Gruwell and i hope where she is now to keep on her good work.

  13. we need more teachers like ms g

  14. Hier soir j'ai vu pour la premiére fois le film sur mbcMAx, vraiment c'est une piéce d'art, c'est une histoire trés motivante, et elle nous donne de l'espoire malgré toutes les difficultés quand les vivre chaque jour. Bravo les freedom writers et j'espére qu'on soit tous des écrivains de la liberté un jour chaqun à sa façon et chaqun à sa place :))

  15. wow .. i saw the movie manytime and i still want to watch it again and again.. it's amazing how a teacher change this lives..
    i keep asking myself what's happend now with those kids..
    im a big fan of this movie and this amazing story and ms G.

  16. wooowooo .. Jag såg filmen många gånger och jag fortfarande vill titta på det igen och igen .. Det är fantastiskt hur en lärare ändra på detta liv ..
    Jag frågar mig själv vad som hände nu med de barnen ..
    im ett stort fan av filmen och denna fantastiska berättelse och ms G

  17. Thanks to that student of mine ... for the piece of advice ...A nice present to me, really !

  18. this movie iis nspiring to me..especially i'm a future tcher smedy...like..!

  19. i watched this movie today, and was the first time i could see something so strong, you know, how can someone leave theyre own life to help the others? we really needded more people like Erin. she could change many teenagers lifes. God bless you all for this atitude!!!!!!!

  20. I've watched this movie last night. I did not know anything about this story. I was touched by it. amazing. That teacher reached the most precious thing from those students, their heart. Thanks God for these kind of people that believe in a human being.

  21. je viens juste de finir de regardé le film,c'est un très bon film. cet histoire est touchante cruelle a la fois et fascinante.jamais un film ma fait couler des larmes jusqu’à ce jour

  22. I watched the movie and I'm amazed. A deep bow to the real Erin Gruwell, to actors and filmmakers. Be blessed.

  23. omg! this is really good

  24. I watched this movie once and loved one of them is like me going throw depression and watin to kill myself but now I changed who i am

  25. You are the best teacher Erin.

  26. Today i watch this movie it's a very good story. Erin you are the best teacher and many thanks for the thing that you do.

  27. amasing powerfull story
    the world would be a better place if all teachers could teach like her

  28. If you like the book Freedom Writer Diary or the 2007 movie Freedom Writers Starring Hilary Swank then you will love Diary of A Freedom Writer "The Experience" by Darrius Garrett. He is an author/actor/motivational speaker and Original Freedom Writer. Darrius is one of the Original Freedom Writers that co-wrote the book as well as if you seen the movie Freedom Writers starring Hilary Swank the heart wrenching character "Marcus" that was homeless as well as his friend shot himself in the film that is about Darrius Garrett as well but now he tells his full story of change,hope and redemption in his NEW book Diary of A Freedom Writer "The Experience.

    Here is a link I found to a chapter to give a feel of the book


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