Journal Fail

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by Elocin, Sep 19, 2009.

  1. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    Sep 19, 2009

    Hello!
    I am trying to do journalling with my 4 year old class and I am not sure if I am doing it right OR if I am just too much of a control freak about it.

    I gave the kids each their own lined maunscript book--the kind with the big pages and dotted middle lines. My original intention was to tell the kids they could "write" or draw about anything they want, then I would go around, ask them about their page, ask them to "write" something that would describe their page and then write the actual words and the date underneath. I thought it would be fun to give to their parents at the end of the school year to see how their letters and drawings improved.

    Weeeelllll.....that is not how it worked out. They started in the middle of the book and in the 5 mins it took me to grab some supplies for the next activity, half of them had covered most of the book in their pictures. Bummer. And I try to get them to "write" but they won't even try, despite my using some of the great tactics given here for encouraging children to make marks.

    What am I doing wrong? Do I need to calm down and let them do what they want? Any input appreciated!
     
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  3. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Sep 19, 2009

    Just give them 1 piece of paper and date it when you write what they dictate. Don't expect a lot of writing early in the year - maybe later. Put them in a folder by child and bind it later. Lined paper isn't developmentally appropriate at this point and may be intimidating them - can't write in the lines correctly so don't want to write.
     
  4. Alesia

    Alesia Companion

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    Sep 19, 2009

    Try giving them a sheet of loose leaf paper and putting it in a folder or binder marked with their names each day.
     
  5. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    Sep 19, 2009

    I'm using the notebooks with my 4 year olds and I first explain that I'm going to hand it to them with the page already open and to work on that page only. So far, that's what they've all done. I date it with a stamper that I purchased at Staples.
    I give them a "subject" and then let them do whatever they want...I feel like it's their free page and this is where they are at. Maybe it's not "correct", but they sure are enjoying it. :)
    I remind them that when they're done, to just keep it on that page and I will pick it up.
     
  6. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    Sep 20, 2009

    Thanks. I did ask them to stay on the one page and that if they wanted to continue drawing after they finished their page I would give them extra scratch paper.

    I will try again with unlined paper and make a binder. I am not so worried about the writing, but I get frustrated they won't try because they are always "writing" menus and grocery lists during free time so I know they get the idea.

    Thanks so much for the advice!
     
  7. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    Sep 20, 2009

    When I did journals I clipped their name card to the top of the page with a binder clip or a clothespin. They were told not to remove the clip to turn the page and reminded daily for the first several weeks. At first a few tried, but then they got the picture. The name card at the top also serves as a visual model of their name and inspires some to make an attempt at writing. The clip serves as a visual reminder not to turn the page. Nothing ever goes smoothly immediately with preschoolers, it takes time and lots of practice. I think giving them one sheet of paper for the first few weeks and then easing them into notebooks or journals is a very good idea. Here is a picture below that shows my old journals- they are blank paper stapled together.
    [​IMG]
    My new writing page.
     
  8. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    Sep 20, 2009

    Thanks! Your website has a ton of fantastic ideas too. Thanks so much!
     
  9. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Sep 20, 2009

    Great idea!
     
  10. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Sep 20, 2009

    Each year I tend to forget how difficult school is during the first few weeks. We are just staring to settle in with journaling. The following are not specific solutions for your problem, but observations from my first few weeks.

    -I had the children journaling with crayons until Thursday and Friday. I switched to markers. They loved it! I'm thinking it makes journaling special. I was so surprised to see many writing letters.
    I'm going to stick with markers.

    -This week was the first week we started phonics. There were a lot of "a's" on the paper. Adding phonics helped.

    -One boy was in a rush and wanted to scribble on each page in the book so he could be done. At this point, he does not try to write his name anywhere. I have watched his scribbles progress on the Developmental Chart. I was able to show his mother at Back to School Night. She was very happy. Friday he drew a picture that he was very proud of.

    -One girl is wrote a string of letters and asked me what it said!

    -I am seeing lots of "cats" and "dogs" and drawings.

    -The children are starting to talk about the pictures that they are drawing- fireman, God. Two of them showed their parents at pick-up time.

    -At the beginning many children would quickly draw something and yell "I'm done." :mad: (I hate that!) I direct them to go to another page. Friday, 3 or 4 were disappointed when we needed to stop journaling and get ready for snack.

    In general, the children are enjoying the activity and are developing a sense of ownership of the books. Most important, each is working at his/her own level.
     
  11. paige407

    paige407 Rookie

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    Sep 20, 2009

    We have journals already made up ~ so, I use a binder clip on both sides to hold the pages at the top so that they cannot turn them.
    I love the idea of the name card at the top, so I might slip one of those in also (Thank you).
    We use ours as a letter journal. So, I ask them to practice the letter first and then they can draw a picture of something that starts with that letter (we read the "my letter A' and so on books). They usually can start out selecting a letter picture to draw, but veer of course!
    It is a good visual to take home at the end of the year to show progression. Good luck!
     
  12. Oboemom

    Oboemom Rookie

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    Sep 20, 2009

    Great ideas! I will surely use some binder clips to attach a name strip. We haven't started our journals yet. I am working on pencil grip and some beginning writing skills and we will move to the journals the first week of October.
     
  13. Elocin

    Elocin Comrade

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    Sep 20, 2009

    That drives me crazy and I get a lot of that with a lot of my projects which makes me think I am doing something wrong. :confused: I am glad I am not alone--though I am sorry you get frustrated too!!! I do let them choose their own topic completely. Most of the boys draw robots or dinosaurs and the girls draw rainbows or family portraits. :)
     
  14. happypreteach

    happypreteach Rookie

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    Sep 20, 2009

    We don't do journals in my school. What is the value? I'm not knocking it...just curious.
     
  15. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Sep 20, 2009

    Look at the drawings. Ask the children what colors they used. Ask about their families and robots. They will tell you the stories. Often, I ask the children to turn to a neighbor and tell them about the drawing. The children get excited, engaged and take pride in their work.
     
  16. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Sep 20, 2009

    PLease remember the children need time to "experience" an item before they can do the specific task at hand. That is what was happening in my humble opinion. I bet after you slide in to the activity you can have much better success. You may even be able to go back to the journals you have at a later date after you use some of vanna's wonderful ideas.

    Also please remember that when they are making lists and other writing experience you are watching them: role play what they see grown ups in their life do, and using mental images to make a list. When they are writing the words under joural drawing they are caught up in the moment of drawing (which you people certainally seemed to be appreciating) and then they have to look at what they drew to find out what it was and find the word----then write it. That is the same neuron in their brain, but a different pathway through it.

    The skill will come, and you didn't fail, you had a lot of drawing activity. YOU CAN DO IT!
     
  17. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Sep 20, 2009

    :thumb: Well said!
     
  18. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Sep 20, 2009


    Some of us use Journals and some of us use Book Making to promote writing skills. Do a search on the forums of both and you'll get the idea.
     
  19. KLSSwimmer

    KLSSwimmer Habitué

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    Sep 20, 2009

    For my kindergarten kiddos, I have a spiral notebook that I use for a journal. I just flip to the correct page, and at the beginning of the year, we have a mini-lesson that we are only to write on one page until we fill it up. They have to come and see me before they can go onto another page.
     

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