We introduced writing journals to the students. The students:
- Come into the room, drop their folders off like normal, and check in (now either find their last name or type their name in)
- They then find their journal (AM class has green journals, and PM has yellow journals--the color corresponds with their cubbies as well. I try to keep myself sane...anything in Green is for AM, Yellow for PM. Being a packer fan it is green and gold and that helps me remember which is which green first then gold. ;) )
- As they sit down, I announce the topic and draw their idea.
- They then get a pencil cup from the journal bin and write what they see. I have them writing "the best they can" right now. Some this is wavy lines (though I expected this nobody did this!), random letters across the page (many kids ability), the initial sounds they here (a couple kids), or invented spelling (2-3 of my older girls). They are excited to start writing and to use "real pencils."
- They then tell me and my aide when they are done, we write what they said their words said in pen under their text, and have them put their journal back with the right color.
The journals are stored in a bin with green facing one way, yellow facing the other. The pencil cups are in the bin. There is also an "oops, my pencil broke and need sto be sharpened" bucket in there for them to drop their pencil in and select a new one.
This is teaching them:
- letters sounds, authentic writing, concept of print, and the fact that letters make words and words make us understand something that is trying to be told.
We have only done it twice so far. The scaffolding is pretty strong, but they are doing well. My hope is that eventually they will be able to do most of it on their own (the process, not the writing).
I brought this into our classroom to help prepare then for kindergarten when they will begin journaling, writing the best they can, and expected to follow routine in writing time with out being helped the whole way. So far, so good. :)
Photos coming soon! We are currently at home due to a snow day (well a: it rained, cooled of 20*, sleeted, cooled of another 20*, and snowed on top of all that, day).