Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by woobie5, May 13, 2009.
May 13, 2009
Do you do journal time? And if so .... what/how do you do it?
Yes! I think most kindergarten programs now have some type of journal program in place. As for me, my kids write in 3 different types of journals over the course of the year. Summer workers make the journals for us (which is so nice!) The first journal that we use at the beginning of the year has a box at the top for a picture and a blank space at the bottom for words. The second journal is used in the middle of the year. It has a box at the top and several lines at the bottom for words and sentences. The third and end of the year journal has a box on the left side of the opened journal and the right side is an entire page of lines for the kids to write on. We try to write 3-4 times a week. I always do journal writing first thing in the morning after we finish calendar because the kids are fresh and seem to do a better job than if I do it later in the day. I always start off with a mini group lesson. I sit the kids on the carpet around the easel and we write a page together. I focus on different things during these lessons. At the beginning of the year it is getting a picture to match a prompt and just attempting to spell words. Later in the year the lesson may focus on spacing or starting a sentence with a capital letter. The mini lesson changes as the kids progress. After the mini lesson is over I pass out journals and the kids go to thier tables and write. I walk around to help and supervise. The beginning of the year is tough, but once you get a few independent writers it gets easier becasue you have more time to spend with the lower kids. My school wants the kids to write about a given prompt, but we usually have one day a week where they can writie about anything they want. When they are finished with their writing they go to their "finished group." They are just small activities that the kids can do when they are done. They aren't really centers because we do those later, but rather activities that keep them busy until the rest of the class is finished. When everyone is done we clean up and bring our journals over to the carpet. I ask for volunteers to read to the class. The whole process takes about 45 minutes
The goal for our district is for the kids to be writing 3 sentences for a given prompt by the end of Kindergarten. Of course I still have a few kids struggling to get 1 sentences down on paper, but I also have kids that are writing way beyond 3 sentences. I love seeing the kids improve their writing skills throughout the year. Right now they are all doing fantastic and I hate to even think about starting all over with the writing process next year!
I use traditional journals about 2-3 times a week as morning work with a prompt. We have about about 15-20 minutes in the morning that I use for morning work/skills reviews each day. Some of those days I hand out the journals and give them a prompt of some kind usually related to our theme for the week. Our actual writing program discourages prompts so I use the journals to expose them to a different type of writing. We also have science journals that the kids record observations in.
May 16, 2009
Our district used to do journals until we switched to writing workshop which is much more effective. We now follow the "book making" process (as in About the Authors by Katie Wood Ray) because it is a much more authentic and meaningful way to approach writing with young children. We were astounded by the results when we first started following this method. I had students who were writing entire picture books on topic, using punctuation, concepts of print and much more. You can read more about bookmaking on my writing page.
Jun 10, 2009
I just finished a workshop where they talked about having Vocabulary Journals. The students write and illustrate the vocabulary words from the curriculum. I really liked this idea and plan on using it in my classroom next year. I like the idea that students can go back and look up words from past stories and use them in their writing. Sorta like a picture dictionary.
Jun 11, 2009
Another question I'd like to add: Those of you that do journals several times a week where do you get that many prompts? I always have a hard time with that!
I've heard multiple times that you should NOT have prompts. If you're making a class book or putting something on display in the hallyway, that's fine. However, for daily journaling, children should not have prompts. I've heard this at district in-services, conferenes, seminars, etc. I had my students free-write every day.
We only give prompts when we are doing an assessment. But, I do spend ALOT of time discussing possible topics to write about. Most kindergarteners I know will sit and do nothing if you let them try to think of a topic. I have a little chart with pictures and topics ( a picture of a dog/cat for pets, a picture of a family for family ideas, etc)to give them some ideas.
I agree with both Driving Pigeon and Kinder...31. We don't use prompts because they do not produce writing that is meaningful to the children. If young children are forced to write about a topic that is not of their choosing then it will not be meaningful to them and they will not be motivated to write. However, if you don't teach them how to choose their own topic that is "close to their heart", as we say in our district, then they will just sit there like K31 stated.
We do a series of mini lessons to teach our students how to select a topic, the teacher creates an anchor chart with the class and they brainstorm different topics that are meaningful to them with pictures to illustrate just as K31 described. When the anchor chart is done it goes up on the wall and remains there. After each mini-lesson, before dismissing students to independent writing, the teacher reminds them to think about what they are going to write about and share their idea with a neighbor. If they can't think of anything they have to visit the anchor chart before getting their writing notebooks.
Of course, there are times when it is appropriate to write to a prompt for a specific reason like DP mentioned. Some teachers have their students write about topics of their choosing during writing workshop and then they also have them write to a prompt at another time during the day, like a response log or a math journal.
Jun 12, 2009
My students have pages in their journals with a blank box at the top and lines below. This time of year many students don't bother with pictures. I do not give prompts for journals. We brainstorm ideas and I model thinking of what I want to write about. I model thinking out loud about my weekend, pets, upcoming trips or special memories. Sometimes I just look around the room and spot something that gives me an idea. Two years ago I modeled writing by sharing updates from my husband as he hiked the Appalachian Trail.
We do some picture prompts for assessments. I look for coloring book pictures with several items in the pictures. I model with interesting pictures I cut out of magazines or newspapers. Some of my students add interesting dialog.
Our pre-k through 8 school has a writing hall of fame in the entrance to our multipurpose room. My students submitted writing of their choosing from their journals. I photocopied their selections for submission. Each grade level is represented. The winning entry is enlarged to poster size and hung in a poster frame. The winners are announced at an all school assembly and each writer comes up to the stage to hold his/her poster. After the frames are emptied in preparation for the next the posters are sent home with the authors. The winning entry for spring was from an average student who wrote 3 sentences about the bear they saw cross the road in front of the school bus on their way to school one day. She had a beginning, middle and ending.
Jun 13, 2009
Like I stated above, my school wants us to give the kids prompts because they will eventually have to respond to prompts on the writing section of the state standardized test once they hit 3rd grade (gotta love NCLB). I know, I know, they aren't in third grade, but that is what I am supposed to do. All of my prompts, however, are about them. They are always writing about themselves or their lives. Examples of prompts may be:
- What did you do over the weekend?
-Write about your family
-Write about what you like to do in the snow
-Write about your friends
-Write about your Christmas vacation
-Write about your favorite animals
-Write about things you like to do in PE class
-What are your favorite foods?
-Write about what you like to do in the fall?
All of the prompts are about themselves and they are pretty wide opened. At the end of the year, I give alot more free choice days becasue by that time most of the kids are writing so well. I also have a writing center where the kids can make books, cards etc.. where they have more free choices.
This is really cool. I would love to do more with my 5 year olds, but wasn't sure if it was really appropriate.
I just worry that some of them (mostly the boys) would start to see writing as a chore. Especially if we do it every day.
In my classroom, we have the typical "writing center", but it's optional and some kids just never head over there. Some were totally into writing cards and little books (just paper stapled together). Some liked drawing and then would come to me to write their story for them. If they have a long, imaginative story, is it ok for me to do the writing?
Now I am not Kindergarten, but am supposed to do more than the 4 year old classes. I will get the books about writing workshops, maybe they will help me find something appropriate.
I did a variety of things:
draw a pic and write about what you liked about our visitor (firefighters, puppet show, etc)
draw a pic and write about your favorite part of our field trip
draw a pic and write about your favorite part of the story we just read
free choice-draw and write about anything
story-Harold and the Purple Crayon- read, watch movie, then children draw and write their own ______and the Purle Crayon story
Separate names with a comma.