Hi there. My plan for my 5th grade class this fall is to use an open form of journaling as the bellwork. My main goal for this comes in three parts... one I want my students to simply write more and this will allow for that, two, I want my students to practice writing on a given topic (the question or topic I write on the board), and three, I want to allow for a venue for students to communicate with me in a special way one-to-one. Students will have a choice when the get in to write according to the topic written on the board or they can simply write to me. This allows for students the ability to talk to me about issues they are having in the class, things they simply want to let me know about (cool vaca, new puppy etc), or anything else really they want to talk about. I think it offers an excellent way to connect with each student. If a student has nothing of importance to say, they can simply write according to the topic. My goal is to also reply on a regular basis to each journal for each student. I don't intend to write full journals back.. but more like comments in the margins, insightful questions, and/or a quick sentence or two at the end - depending on what they write. NOW FOR MY DILEMMA... How do I make this work... for me. I initially thought each student would have a single subject notebook. That is easy for the students (no losing pages, everything is kept sequential) but if I want to take them home to read... I'm carrying some serious weight on the train home. Now I'm thinking thinner books. Maybe homemade notepads or two pocket portfolios with those metal tabs in the center that hold 3 punched paper? We could put in a thin stack of paper and replace and refill? The problem here... I have to figure out how to make homemade thin notebooks, or I have to buy all those folders which I didn't plan on buying. OR, put a stack of loose paper in the front of the room, grab a sheet and hold them in regular two pocket folders (which I have plenty of). But I don't want them to lose papers or have papers out of order. I can easily carry 25 sheets of paper home though. Maybe I could do binders? Store the loose paper in binders - they should stay in order.. they hopefully won't rip out as time goes on. I can bring home individual sheets and store the binders here. Maybe I could put the binders in a shelf instead of their desk to save space? (they won't really need to access them except during the bellwork period). But then I have to buy binders... arg. What would you do??