How do you do/teach journaling?

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by Miss.G, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. Miss.G

    Miss.G Rookie

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    Sep 16, 2010

    I'm looking for alternative ideas to how my team currently teaches journaling. It is VERY stressful for me.
    We currently have them draw a horizontal line for each word that they are going to write. We usually tell them a start to their sentence (for example this we we're writing I can ____.) So they'd draw 3 lines and add their own word at the end.
    But the lines are hard for the kids. They can't stay on the line to write, they don't make them long enough and if they add more than one word at the end they don't get how.

    We try to stick with short sentences using the high frequency words that we're learning but there's a part of me that feels like part of the stress is because the sentences are boring and they don't allow them very much freedom to write their own ideas.

    So I'm curious, how do you teach journaling?
     
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  3. starbucks

    starbucks Comrade

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    Sep 16, 2010

    We also do the lines, but the kids don't all have to write the same thing. Today, for example, we wrote about our bus. Some kids put "I like my bus," "My bus is yellow," "I ride bus 6." etc... Obviously the sentences aren't spelled very well yet, but we tried! I am fortunate that I have another adult that comes to my room just for writing class to help. I do a group mini lesson on the carpet and then I send them back to thier seats to draw their picture. When they are done drawing they go to an assigned center. I then pull kids to help them with the writing part. I will ask them what they want to say. We then count how many words are in their sentence and then I draw that many lines. We then go back and "kid spell" each word on each line. At the beginning of the year it takes FOREVER!!! In fact in the beginning of the year it takes me 2 days (even with help) to help each child individually with their page. But each month, things get better and the kids don't need as much individual help. When they are ready, I eliminate the lines and introduce "finger spacing" and their writing takes off. The horizontal lines do work if you keep at it. I can't imagine, however, allowing them to draw their own lines for their words. I know they would have lines everywhere. I find that going slow during the first few weeks and helping each child indivudually really pays off. By the end of October, I can get everyone done in 1 day. By spring they are filling up a whole page with multiple sentences.

    We were trained to do the horizontal lines for each word. It was something new to me, but it really helps with spacing at the beginning of the year. Even if the kids aren't close to conventional spelling, their writing looks like a sentece because I put the spaces in for them when I drew the lines. I also find that they pick up finger spacing so easily when I stop drawing lines. They totally get word spacing at that point in the year .

    I hate journaling in September, but it is my favorite part of the day by the end of the year. It will get better if you keep at it. Some of the K teachers in my building, however, don't keep at it because it is so tough in the fall. they end up only doing journals 1 or twice a week. Their kids never really progress much. The key is to do writing daily (or almost every day). I am always praised by others in my school that my kids are such good writers. Its not that I do anything special, but rather that we do it daily.
     
  4. MrsM7

    MrsM7 Rookie

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    Sep 17, 2010

    Thanks for sharing! So simple but I can see how effective that would be.
     
  5. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    Sep 18, 2010

    I agree, it sounds very boring for kids and stressful for you- a bad combo. This is their first exposure to writing so it needs to be meaningful and fun and writing to a prompt is not fun. Although it is something they will eventually required to do, it can't be the only form of writing they experience. If we want them to learn to love writing, the writing needs to be meaningful to them.

    We stopped doing journals a few years ago and switched to bookmaking after reading a few books by Katie Wood Ray. I suggest reading Katie Wood Ray's About the Authors, it's a fabulous book written specifically for kindergarten writing.

    We use the Reading/Writing Workshop approach for literacy and do the bookmaking during the independent writing portion of Writing Workshop. You can see some sample writing workshop lessons on Jessica Meacham's website.

    Good luck!
     
  6. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    Sep 19, 2010

    What do you do if the sentence the students wants to write is super long? I don't want to restrict their writing capabilities but it would take forever to help each student.
     
  7. starbucks

    starbucks Comrade

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    Sep 19, 2010

    You are right, it does take a long time! I only help each child individually for a few weeks. After they get the idea, most of them are willing to try to spell without me being right by their side. I simply draw the lines for them and walk away. I eliminate the lines totally (except for my really low kids) by November when I introduce finger spacing.

    Most of the kids are writing pretty short sentences in September. If I do get a child that wants to write more, they can. I help them with their first sentence, but tell them that they will have to finish the rest by themselves while I help the other kids.

    I hated drawing the lines when my district first went with this program, but I have had great success with it. Having the kids go to centers while I work with a few kids really made the difference in management. My kids last year would complain if we didin't write in our journals. They loved writing!
     
  8. woobie5

    woobie5 Comrade

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    Sep 21, 2010

    I like the line idea! Do you draw them for them as they go? Or are they pre-drawn?
     
  9. starbucks

    starbucks Comrade

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    Sep 21, 2010

    When I a child is finished with his/her picture they raise their hand and I go over to their table. I say "what do you want to write today?" We then clap and count the words together and I draw the lines at that time. you can not pre draw them because every child writes something different.
     
  10. kinderokSA

    kinderokSA Rookie

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    Sep 21, 2010

    I am excited about journal writing. I've been trying to get it working and i think this years class is ready for it.

    I do have a question!!! I can't find a alphabet worksheet - uppercase and lowercase - A-Z

    Does anyone have one that can print out. the first-school website did not print the trace letters.

    HELP!!!!!
     
  11. woobie5

    woobie5 Comrade

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    Sep 21, 2010

    Thanks Starbucks! I AM LOVING THIS! One thing .... how do you get them to write a simple sentence? Often times ... some of my low writers .... will start rambling for what they want to write a bout. For example .... they might have drawn a picture of a house and I will say .... would would you like to write today and they will say "I went to the house with my friends and we played barbies" or whatever .... I don't want to "stifle" that kid but I have no aide in my room during my writing time so I'm unable to sit with that kid to write EACH word. How do you handle this? Any other tips you can give with you how you approach writing? I LOVE this idea!
     
  12. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    Sep 22, 2010

    I am wondering the same thing! Love the idea but I know I will have kids that will ramble on and on. What is your limit at the beginning for sentences. Four lines, five lines...?
     
  13. starbucks

    starbucks Comrade

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    Sep 23, 2010

    I don't want to stifle them either, but sometimes it is necessary when they go on and on and on. I will listen to what they want to say and then try to give suggestions to shorten it. If they really want to go on and on, I will draw enough lines for the first sentence and tell them that when they get get done with that much I will come back and draw more lines. Usually that is not necessary becasue they realize how much work it will be to keep going and going! Once we eliminate the lines and introduce finger spacing they can write as much as they want. Also, I always do a mini lesson on the carpet where the kids help me do a writing on big chart paper. They see how long my writing is at this point so that helps too.

    We just started writing last week. We are spending 2 days on 1 page. I have everybody draw their picture on the first day and I start to help some of the kids write thier sentence. On the second day I finsish helping the rest of the kids with the writing part. After about 3 weeks I can get everybody done in 1 day because many of the top kids are willing to try to spell without my help. My whole journal time takes about 40 minutes. We spend about 10 minutes on a group lesson on thecarpet, about 20 minutes of writing and then 5-10 minutes of sharing time.

    Last year was the first year that I had any help with writing. It made such a difference to have an extra person help, however, I have done this program by myself for many, many years. The key that I have found to manage it was to make sure the kids have something to do when they finish writing. I came up with "journal centers." We don't start guided reading until after Christmas so these centers are the only morning centers we have right now. The kids love them because they think they are playing. They usually keep themselves pretty busy and will let me help the kids that need help. I alsways look for a child that is being extra good in the centers and they get to keep my writing paper that i made during whole group to take home. They love winning my writing becasue it is on big chart paper.
     
  14. woobie5

    woobie5 Comrade

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    Sep 23, 2010

    This is really great Starbucks! You don't happen to have a list of your mini-lessons or anything like that do you? I'm going to give your ideas a shot! Is this a program or something you developed? I would love to get my hands on any manuals or any info if it is a program. THANKS AGAIN FOR SHARING!
     
  15. starbucks

    starbucks Comrade

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    Sep 23, 2010

    Sorry Woobie. The program we use was developed by a retired educator that does staff development. He travels around the country inservicing teachers. My school had him come on several occasions to work with our teachers on writing. After he trained us, he actually came in our rooms and did a lesson with the kids so that we could see how it should be done. He didn't provide a manual or a list of mini lessons ( although he should have after all the money the district spent to have him come!). I basically just teach what I think the kids are ready for. Sometimes I focus on beginning the sentence with a capital letter, sometimes it is finger spacing etc... The main thing is that the kids see you write and see your love of writing. Right now I am just focusing on getting the kids to put SOMETHING down on paper. We will then go from there.
     
  16. woobie5

    woobie5 Comrade

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    Sep 27, 2010

    Thanks anyway! You don't happen to know his name do you?
     
  17. starbucks

    starbucks Comrade

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    Sep 27, 2010

    His name is Steve Dunn. He is from California.
     
  18. woobie5

    woobie5 Comrade

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    Sep 28, 2010


    THANKS! He has a website!!

    http://www.stevewdunn.com/index.html

    I just need to find time to call and find out pricing on the Kindergarten materials!
     
  19. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    Sep 29, 2010

    omg that was great info
     

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