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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Journaling in the Classroom, Bloglovin, & a Giveaway!

Hey, friends! Remember how I promised you guys a school related post sometime soon? Well, here it is! Yes!

First off, I joined Bloglovin... Have you guys? I'm still not 100% sure what's going on with Google, but since everyone else in joining... I thought I should too! Hah!

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Okay, on to the educational part! Hah!I have been working on weekly common core reading plan, but decided to take a break for a day or two to work on some writing fun.

This year we have been asked to teaching reading block and then immediately follow it with our writing time. During my first two years of teaching I taught reading block first thing in the morning, and then taught writing very late in the afternoon. I am excited to give this new way a try because, to me, it only makes sense to teach them close together when we are working on things during writing time that relates back to reading block. 

On a somewhat unrelated note...
Last year I had a HUGE... let me tell ya HUGE problem with fast test finishers. During our weekly Storytown tests I had to set a timer to force kids to S.L.O.W down during their test. Not only did students sometimes skip questions, but I felt like the slower test takers felt rushed because everyone else was done and asking me to go to the library, etc.

I put those two thoughts together...
1) Writing after reading block
2) Fast test finishers
...and came up with an idea I really think my kiddos will enjoy. 

I created 36 weekly journal prompts for my students to complete. They will be in charge of completing ONE prompt each week once they finish their weekly test each Friday. I placed 9 prompts on each page, which made four pages... one for each of our nine weeks. Students will have the freedom (they LOVE freedom! hah!) to choose one of the nine prompts each week until all 9 are complete. This will keep my fast finishers busy once they finish taking their test so that students who aren't done won't be distracted by students moving around the room. 

Students will glue these prompts into their reading journals and complete the nine responses on the pages directly behind the prompt page. They will keep these journals in their desks so that if they don't get a chance to work on their response after testing, they can easily pull it out and complete it later. 

I went ahead and made two versions of the journal prompts. I made a smaller version (that my class will use) that can be glued into journals. I also made a full page version that can be whole punched and placed in a binder or folder. 
How do you guys journal in your classrooms?
I am really excited to give this new way a shot! I really think my kiddos will enjoy getting to pick which prompt they respond to each week. I love that even though students get to choose... it is still structured! 

Think this is something you can use? 
Leave me a comment telling me something you do in your classroom during writing time. I am always in need of new ideas! I'll choose one person who comments to send this pack to via email! 

ONE MORE THING!
Check it out... 500 followers. OHH my gosh!
I feel a giveaway coming on! Want to donate? 
Email me at adventuresofmssmith@gmail.com =)

4 comments:

  1. That seems like a really good idea! When will your not fast finishers get to work on it? I feel like I constantly have a few students who are just SO far ahead in work. During my first year, these kiddos welcomed extra work and enrichment activities, but this past year, most of my fast finishers put up a "Will everyone have to do it?" fight when I tried to give them early-finisher work.

    I try to keep my writing time very structured, doing the same things in the same order everyday (this helps because I have at least one student out of the room during writing every day and it means that they know what they need to catch up on when they get back). First, I teach a mini-lesson. Next, we practice whole group or in pairs (usually in a silly way). Then, students write independently on whatever project we are working on at the time. Last, they share with someone or the whole class.

    -Dani
    A Place to Thrive

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  2. Awesome! Thanks for including these! I'm teaching 5th grade next year and I'm most nervous about teaching writing! www.elementaryendeavors.weebly.com

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  3. These prompts look great. Last year I was going to start shared writing journals. Each journal had a specific topic and any student could choose a journal and write in it. It was one of those great ideas I just forgot to implement - does that ever happen to you? I also put together a traveling class pet with a writing journal to go with it.
    Storie
    Stories by Storie

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  4. I am glad I found your blog through Caffeine and Lesson Plan's third grade link up. I love finding other third grade blogs. I'm your newest follower!

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