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Journal Writing

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Teachers explain how they use journals in their classrooms.
Posted by:Marie #50060

I have 2 journals - math and writing. For the writing journal, I do a brief modelling of writing a journal, demonstrating how I come up with a topic, talking through elements of writing (leaving a space between words, capitals, periods), and we blend and segment some of the words together as a class. I let them choose their own topic for their journals (be careful - you need to hide your journal writing or you may end up with imitations of it). I feel strongly about letting them choose their own topic during this time - because I've found children produce more when the topic is relevant to them.

The children usually write 1 or 2 sentences during the beginning of the year, and increase to around 2 pages by the end of the year (by themselves, I _never_ tell them how much they should write. I do...

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Posted by:L.P. #21262

We usually do our journals together with me writing on the board. I set up their journals with a "smiley face" and two lines. They start writing at the smiley. I draw a smiley on the board and two lines, then tell them what words we are going to write. I sound out the words to them and they tell me the letters to write, then they copy it. (Once they know their letters better, I will have them write it on their own)After we're done writing, we do directed drawing, usually with geometric shapes. When they've finished the drawing to go with the words, they can add anything they want to the picture. Once a week we have "their choice" drawing and I tell them that they must do some writing on the page even if it is only their name. I help sound out words or...

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Posted by:Jana #30723

A few bits of advice... I don't know if your familiar with the 'four-block' approach (patricia cunningham,) but my school has starting 'doing' four-blocks this year, and it's sort of changed the way i've done my journal writing time-- which is our writing segment of the day. We call them 'journals,' but they're just our notebooks. I start by modeling my own writing for about 5 minutes-- i use the overhead and verbalize everything that's going on in my head, including my brainstorming, etc. You can even do things wrong and have kids correct you at the end. During this modeling you're pointing out strategies you're using, like using the word wall, thinking about capitals, punctuation, etc. You can direct a 'mini-lesson' right in your writing. However, this modeling only takes about 5 minutes.

For first grade, i wouldn't be so...

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journals (long)
Posted by:sm3rd #34231

We do journals each week in our third grade class. I have it scheduled for once a day but we usually don't get to them that often. We started the first day of school and my students "love" journaling. The way I do journaling is the following:
Our journal time is for the students to be given a writing prompt or subject usually based on our reading story or a unit we are covering at the time to write about.
It is a time for them to write as much as or as little as they want. They know it will not be graded or corrected (that is the hard part). I feel there is a time for process writing, grammar writing etc but journaling is not used for that.
They include a picture to go along with their entry. At times the students have an opportunity to share their journals...

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Posted by:Kelly #21285

I use journals as a part of my literacy centers. Each child writes in his or her journal at least once a week, sometimes more if there is something special to write about or if the child wants to write in it. I work with 5 students at a time. I usually give them a topic related to the theme we are working on. For example, this week was all about the letter A and apples, so the children drew pictures of magical apple trees. After drawing their pictures, I encourage the children to "write some letters" to go with their drawings. I will stretch words out for the kids to write down. There are no right or wrong ways to spell words during journals, and I make this very clear from the beginning. The only thing the children have to do is try their best to write whatever sounds they hear in...

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Posted by:Helen #10977

I have done this several ways over the years. One way was to give them wirebound notebooks ,just like the older kids, and allowing them to draw a picture first and then write..accepting just a picture if that is all the child can do, or just one word. As the children progress, require a minimum of one sentence etc. I have made 1/2 page limits for some first graders will fill the pages with nothing but pictures...You also must make rules/no sheets may be torn out for your personal use..otherwise your Journals may get pretty skinny!!!!LOL
I have also made Journals by folding sheets of manilla paper or newsprint (unlined) in 1/2 and covering with construction paper...and let the kids write on that/drawing is accepted also although writing should grow and drawing shrink as the year progresses.
I have also taken...

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Posted by:Susan/5th #59301

I can tell you what I've done in the past and what I'm doing this year. When I taught 8th grade, I used to have journals for every child (they brought their own composition book) and wrote their name on the front. When they entered my room, they started working on DOLs, then did a journal entry on the board. Their journals stayed in a stack (by classes) in my room, on a shelf. A designated person from each class would pass them out. I only graded them once a quarter. That was a writing grade, and they had to have so many of them to get an A. I had a rubric for them. I didn't read every entry each child wrote. I skimmed them and read a few - and made a comment on at least one per child. I mostly did journals for them to write freely - on a...

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Posted by:Tina #50030

Hi! In my class I have two journals-poetry and writing. My students write in their writing journal every morning while things are getting settled. As soon as the kids come in and I say "Good morning". I remind them to pick up their journals and give them the prompt that's on the board. We use those black and white composition notebooks for this.

I try to get to our poetry journals twice a week. This doesn't happen all the time. I give my students a copied or typed poem that they paste in a spiral notebook. The poems vary. Some are related to a theme or holiday, while others are used to discuss short vowels sounds, songs etc. I also like to read the poem to them, then they read with me and then I ask for volunteers to read a line. I might even read a couple lines and the students fill in...

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Posted by:karen #10152

I start doing journals right on the fist day of school. I divide the class into 2 groups that they remain in for the whole year. While one group does journals, they other works on something different. This way, I can spend more time with the half doing journals.

I first model for the students, by writing the date, my name and a story. I pick different areas to work on (ie left to right motion, capital letters, high frequency words, questions, etc.) I let the students pick the topic. When they have an idea, they put up their hand, tell me and then go to work.

At the beginning of the year I print their name in the journal and they copy it. When they bring the journal to read it to me, they must spell their name. When they can do this, I write...

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