Journal Writing and Journal Jars

Every Friday all year our writing time is our school journal.  This is a place where we review and reflect upon all the things we did at school for the week and write about them.  The students can also include any really important things that happened during the week at home if they want, such as a birthday party or a family event.

A cute journal you can get for $3.50 from Lakeshore or Amazon. I just make up my own and get it zirloxed.

A really good way to brainstorm for this is doing a whiteboard brainstorm and have the kids help by coming up with all the things we learned that week in science, social studies, math topics, art projects, what we did in computer and P.E. and maybe what we are reading aloud for our chapter book after lunch. Many times the school is also hosting such things as Book Fairs, Red Ribbon Week, Fun Runs, etc. that we could include. 

Another cute one for purchase.  I just made a cute cover and copied 30 pieces of  paper in mine. 

Then I have the kids often times do a fun activity using the portable computer lab. They all get a laptop and we go to this website HERE at Read Write Think. This is a fun, fill in the blank quickwrite to get them thinking about fun things they could write about.  Sometimes we write about school, other times we may write about a holiday or our favorite sport. It helps with all kinds of topics to develop some background knowledge.

This journal is from Really Good Stuff 

Then we go to our Friday journals and write.  Really the only other time I have them write in their journals is on the first and last days of school and after field trips.  We use the brainstorming game at Read Write Think to help with that too.  The other days of the week we do thematic writing to go with a topic from our literature story of the week, or else we do science or social studies integrated writings.

Autumn Acrostic Poetry
It went along with our cute Scarecrow art project that week….

I ALWAYS start with a method of brainstorming. I will sometimes cut out a shape using colored butcher paper from the rolls and design a frog or sun or turkey or whatever we are writing about and we write the brainstorm phrases on that and leave it up during the writing process. Other times I just use the white board or document camera.  But we always do a brainstorm. HERE at vrml K12 is a bunch of brainstorming activities and a powerpoint on brainstorming to use with your class.

This idea is from Craftster….I’d just decorate up a jar and add  writing prompts in little colored papers. 

This idea is from Journal Keepers and you can buy the whole kit for $14.00. 

Another way to go on Journal Writing is to do a Journal Jar.  This is a really cute idea. I found a few websites that had great prompts already made up that you could just copy and have kids paste one at the top of each sheet in their journals.  The link for a good one is HERE at Organized Home.  Another listing can be found  HERE at Scrapjazz.  And a third listing with a cute poem is HERE at Utah 4H.

Journals are a good weekly writing activity….use prompts or use a brainstorm of ideas each week. 

Another great way to get started is to read a short literature story. Then do the brainstorm or “LIST” afterwards on the board. This is another way to develop some background knowledge about the topic you are writing about. That’s why using the literature stories from your basal is such an excellent way to begin a writing lesson. Use what you learned from a science or social studies story in the same way. Have the kids help you list facts on the board first, and then they have a few things to begin writing with.  And I always give them 3 sentence frames to get started.

This one is from Teachers Pay Teachers…

    Examples: Our solar system ….    We have 9 planets….  Our sun is a giant gas ball that…..
Abraham Lincoln was a president that….We celebrate Presidents day to honor…. Frogs begin their lives as….I love studying frogs because… Thanksgiving is a time when we …. I am very thankful for….

The sentence frames always help those kids who have a really hard time “getting started”. If they just sit there for awhile I can help them by saying, “Just choose one of the sentence frames and start writing your own words after that”. It prevents them from wasting any time in most cases.

Here was a theme writing we did on our future Summer Vacations…..

I happened to find some cute paper for this writing, but it could have been just in the journals too. 

A great website for graphic organizers to write  on just about any topic can be found  HERE at vrml k12. They have lots of powerpoints on lots of subjects good for kids brainstorming in 1st and 2nd grades.

To see what I do on Mondays for Writing, link HERE. And check back to see what I do the rest of the week.