Morning work/journals

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by leighbball, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Jun 30, 2011

    I've only been out of school for a little over a week and I'm already thinking about next year! :lol:

    I was thinking of using journals for morning work next year, but the ones I have that I used to use are not in the greatest shape, plus I can't find September's. lol Do you use journals? If so, where do you get your story starter ideas?
     
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  3. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    Jun 30, 2011

    Great question. I am always looking for something where I do not have to make and waste copies.
     
  4. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    Jun 30, 2011

    I have a book from Scholastic called "First Writing Prompts". It's the best writing prompt book I have. I teach 6-12 graders working about a third grade level and the questions are creative but not too out there. It's ordinarily for K-3.
     
  5. janney

    janney Cohort

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    Jun 30, 2011

    For story starters I just use pictures or stickers. Students describe the picture, create a story about it, tell why they would want one or not, etc. I find that just giving them a topic to write about lets them write at their own level. As the year goes on we work on adding more details into our stories/sentences. This is kindergarten though.

    We write 2-3 sentences and do some review activities for reading and math as well.
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jun 30, 2011

    I have the same "First Writing Prompts" book and then one for a little older that I pull from now with my sixth graders. They are both great and easy to use.
     
  7. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jun 30, 2011

    I usually use the ones from Reading street (the journal ideas), or I do my own. They are prompts, actually, but since they always go with the theme we are studying, I really like them.
     
  8. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Jul 1, 2011

    I want to try this. I got my kids $.25 composition notebooks so we can write back and forth to each other. I was just going to make up prompts. Like "Have you ever been outside of the city? If you haven't where would you like to go?" I didn't realize there was a book of prompts! :woot:
     
  9. MandaNicole01

    MandaNicole01 Habitué

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    Jul 1, 2011

    Love it! I have done response journals before. The kids LOVE them! I did these when I worked with older children. Not conducive for my kinder kids!;) Not in September anyways!
     
  10. MandaNicole01

    MandaNicole01 Habitué

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    Jul 1, 2011

    What about free writing... I give my kinder kids free writing time for 20 minutes a day! I also do journals where they must write using a prompt/topic I provide. AND we do dictated writing.

    I can get them to write PAGES if I allow them to free write. I mean, really, would you rather write about some prompt, "What animal would you be if you could be any animal you want" or about something exciting you have plans to do the next day? ;) Don't get me wrong, kids need to practice responding to prompts...after all, I know this is how the assessments are given. But I think they need time to just write...the more they write, the better writers they become. I wasn't sure so I told myself I would try it every Friday for a month and see what happened... When my kids cheered when I announced free writing time, I knew I had to keep going...so I implemented it everyday for 20 minutes...:)
     
  11. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Jul 2, 2011

    READING!!!

    I used to always start w/ morning journals (w/ & w/out prompts). However, I found that some kids really struggled with this and because I was checking folders and taking attendance, those that were writing were doing so without guidance and could reinforce bad habits.

    A couple of years ago I started having the kids read for the first 10 minutes of the day while I took care of those early morning teacher tasks and it has been fantastic. They can do it on their own...even nonreaders can look at the pictures. There is nothing to copy, monitor or correct.

    FWIW, I have also found that since doing this my students have been far better readers than in the past. All that extra time adds up.
     
  12. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jul 2, 2011

    When I have done journals, I usually give a prompt and tell the students that they can answer the prompt or free write. There is one exception, on Wednesday, all students answer the prompt.
     
  13. mrs100

    mrs100 Comrade

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    Jul 2, 2011

    I do the same as Iheartrecess. I did journals for the first few years that I taught, but my kids now spend the first 20 minutes of the day reading. It is the calmest start to the day! They come in, unpack, and find a comfy spot to read. I do my attendance and notes, etc., and then I read also. They love seeing what I read, and often choose similar books and recommend some for me also.
    Journals always made me nervous because some of their writing was so poor, and there were always 5 or 6 that really did not want to write. I'd rather guide them in writing and walk them through the writing process.
     
  14. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Jul 2, 2011

    This makes me nervous as well. I was thinking of giving them a choice between independent reading and responding to the prompt. Do you think this is a bad idea? Should I just be consistent with one thing?
     
  15. mrs100

    mrs100 Comrade

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    Jul 2, 2011

    I think that's a great idea. It lets the kids choose from two very valuable activities. It also lets them switch it up if they choose to do so.
     
  16. MandaNicole01

    MandaNicole01 Habitué

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    I got hung up on the writing and forgot you were talking about morning activities! I teach kinder, so it's different than second, but I let them play, paint, visit the school library, or take AR tests. My kids start coming in at 8:05 and I start class at 8:30. I wanted something that the rest of the children wouldn't have to "make-up" if they came in on time or a little late.
     
  17. ampete

    ampete Rookie

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    Jul 2, 2011

    At what point in the year do you start writing prompts in Kindergarten?
     
  18. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Jul 2, 2011

    I do journals every year. I had the kids bring in a spiral notebook or composition notebook. Some years, I provided them, and bought them when they were a quarter at Target before school starts. Next year I am going to make them on our school copier (which can make booklets) so it has the paper we use for our Handwriting Without Tears curriculum, since I don't want to buy the journals the program provides.

    I did a math and a writing journal.

    I have done various things in different years, so here are a few:

    1- write a prompt on the board each day, which they answer. The great thing about this is they can be related directly to something that happened the day before, or in a recent lesson

    2- create a sheet of paper with 7 different prompts on it for the week. Then, each day they choose 1 of the 7, so by the end of the week they have done 5. This gives them a lot of choice. This is nice, because I had them tape the sheet (1/2 of a regular paper) into their journal for future reference.

    3- have it be a "diary" style journal, where they can write whatever they want, about any topic- personal narratives, stories, poems, etc. I require a minimum number of sentences depending on their age. (Usually, their age minus 2, which for 3rd and 4th graders meant 6-8 sentences.)

    4- Every year I have used Mailbox's book, "Daily Journal Prompts" and selected prompts from the book (I have the 1-3, and the 4-6 versions.)

    5- One year, I simply copied the journal entries for the month, and cut the prompts into slips. Students could draw a slip (2 prompts per day to choose from) and either write a response to the prompt, or write something on their own.

    With their math journals, I have a story problem each day, and number them throughout the year, so by the last day of school they are on #180. They simply write the # at the top of the page, and then solve the problem. I use the mini composition books that come in packs of 4 for these.
     
  19. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Jul 10, 2011

    Thanks everyone for your ideas!

    One of the reasons for the journal with prompts is because on the state test for 3rd grade, our kids need to be able to write based on prompts. My 3rd graders have always struggled with this, and since the Lucy Calkin's Units of Study are about the process of writing and not prompts, I thought it would be a good way to incorporate it so my kids are a bit prepared with prompts when they go to 3rd.

    I do like the idea of giving them extra time to read, as well. Hopefully they will take advantage of it, since we don't do centers during reading and they independently read unless they are meeting with me in guided reading or we are doing a mini lesson.
     
  20. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jul 10, 2011

    Last year, I had my kiddos doing sentence editing in an ELA journal most mornings. Some days (for a break), they would do a spelling or sight word search or whisper read. I had very few problem behaviors!
     
  21. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    Jul 10, 2011

    This is how I normally do things in my classroom.

    1st nine weeks-reading mixed in with somedays we would do a worksheet. Something math related for review.

    2nd nine weeks-When we really were practicing reading they would read every day.

    3rd-reading and writing alternate days

    4th-reading or writing-their choice.
     
  22. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Jul 25, 2011

    Where did you get the math word problems from? Did you get a book with word problems? I like this idea.

    You can Google writing prompts. There are many websites out there that provide them for months, seasons, grades, etc. Sometimes I make up my own, sometimes I use one of the ones on the websites, or it just fits in with our read aloud of the moment. We started writing daily in the journals first thing in the room. I found that it made writing an every day event, nothing special, where they could express themselves as they wanted. We used the same spiral as the year progressed. At the end of the year, a student and parents could really see the growth.
     

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