Preschool Journals

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by KR828, Aug 31, 2008.

  1. KR828

    KR828 Rookie

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    Aug 31, 2008

    How do you implement journals in Preschool (i.e., when do you do them and how are they done)?
     
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  3. tgi1515

    tgi1515 Comrade

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    Almost every teacher I've talked to does it a little differently. I basically used my journals to talk about initial sounds. I had the children pick a letter and then an object that started that letter. We drew a picture and then tried writing the word. By the end of the year, we were drawing pictures and writing sentences (usually I was writing dictation, although some were trying) AND we practiced our names.

    HOWEVER, this year I'm going to try bookmaking. I bought the book "Already Ready..." and have been reading it. V. Levin started a book review on this site if you want to read up on what has been discussed so far... You ought to check it out. I think bookmaking will do way more for my kiddo's than journals. I plan on starting in September.... sometime.
     
  4. TeachIL

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    I do journals as part of my morning routine. Come in, hang up your coat/backpack, wash hands, sign in, and finally journals. For the first day I have the students decorate the front of their journal, using a piece of construction paper. Then I bind the laminated drawing with lots of white paper. For the younger students we put a paper clip on the correct page to keep them from coloring on all of the pages in the first day. I don't give any prompts for my journals, the kids come in a draw whatever they want. (If they are having a hard time I"ll prompt them with questions to get their mind thinking) When they are done they let a teacher know and we will dictate for them.
     
  5. PennStateCutie

    PennStateCutie Companion

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    I am starting journals this year with both my 3s and 4s. It will be a 1x/week morning work for both groups. Both groups will start out by drawing a picture and then I will write dictation of what they say. In following suit w/ the "Kid Writing" curriculum, you then re-read the sentence back to the child, pointing at each word & then ask them to do the same (teaching LtoR tracking and one-to-one correspondence). Hopefully by the end of the year, the 4s will be able to start adding some words of their own to the pages. I do use the "Kid Crowns" aspect of kid writing to intro my 4s to some common high frequency words, such as you, was, is, are and like. PM me if you have questions about kid-writing! :) We love it!
     
  6. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    I think coming in and starting on them first is important. It will set the stage for the higher grades. Some people think it's too much for little ones. I just remind myself that the can sit for hours in front of a TV or computer. They don't have to write a 3 paragraphs, just whatever they can. Then, they draw a picture, if the like. this covers a lot of areas, language, oral/written, staying on task, sharing with others, art-creative expression, naming colors, letter recognition..when they start spelling their names.

    you can buy spiral notebooks, or make a simple journal with lined newsprint and construction paper. But to save quality work, I would give them a page at a time, and then you can compile the work for the parents and the child later. I think if you leave the work in the journal...kids will start to doubt their work, and others can critize them and they will get upset and may snatch and tear out their work. But parents can appreciate the progression that children do with their writing and drawing...and that's why you should save it separate from the rest of the journal.
     
  7. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    my goodness; I never even thought of doing journals with my 4 yr. olds!
    I'd love to buy some inexpensive stenos and begin!

    Just a thought...since theyr'e not writing yet...should I give them a "thought for the day"??? Like, today, let's draw "MY FAMILY".

    HELP!
     
  8. PennStateCutie

    PennStateCutie Companion

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    I think topics would be a great idea! Maybe something to go along with your themes...like next week, I could say, draw a picture of your favorite apple food (and give suggestions if needed).

    For my journals, I use 3-prong folders & just 3-hole punch plain unlined paper & I use them by opening up and down instead of like a regular book. By the end of the year, I will probably have 2 lines drawn on the page so that the kids (4s) can try their hand at writing!
     
  9. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Teachersandra, we do a journal page once a week, sometimes more if we feel like it. I give them a subject to write/draw about. When they sit down to begin, I tell them to "write" whatever they want to about a particular subject. They are only 4 and 5, so of course they say, "We don't know HOW to write!" I tell them that anyone can write and I show them how, and begin to show them the left to right progression of a wavy line across the paper. After a while, they begin to do a page of wavy lines and eventually add a word or some letters they know how to make. When they are finished, I ask them to draw a picture about what they wrote. Sometimes I reverse this process and have them draw first and then write their story. Then, I ask them to tell me what their drawing/writing says and I write it down on the same paper, below their squiggly lines. I save these papers and put them in a binder at the end of the year for their keepsake.
     
  10. rosew

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    Another idea is to paperclip or cloth pin the pages so that they go right to a fresh page and cant look or want to rip out their previous work..I'm using the report covers that have a clear front cover and will hole punch paper to put in it..I havent started yet..I dont have everyone come on one day so I will have to do it two days a week..maybe one the second day the kids that already did can just draw a picture to take home..or something like that

    Rose
     
  11. teresaro

    teresaro Rookie

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    Sep 2, 2008

    Journals

    I have used journals- even with an advanced group of 3's one year after Christmas. I love it! I rarely use prompts, but do when a child tells me he doesn't know what to draw. This year, as a separate part of the day, we'll also do bookmaking. I feel that both have a place in a PreK classroom.:hugs:
     
  12. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    wow; I'm floored; I think this is fabulous! Imagine...journals for my 4 yr. olds! :love:
    Now; if I can just find some inexpensive steno pads or spiral notebooks. :blush:
     
  13. PennStateCutie

    PennStateCutie Companion

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    you can probably still get spiral notebooks for $.05 at Wal-mart (staples had them for a while, too - in 6-packs for $.30). Otherwise, just get 3-prong folders & plain copy paper :)
     
  14. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    Great ideas; thank you PennStateCutie!:)
    Maybe I'll head on out to Walmart tonight?! :)
     
  15. PennStateCutie

    PennStateCutie Companion

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    hope you find some goodies! :)
     
  16. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    ugh; I found some goodies...to the tune of about $59 worth, including my Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream:p. But get this, WalMart was absolutely wiped out of plain folders and steno pads/spiral notebooks!:woot:
    I'll figure something out though; I really love the "Journal" idea! :love:
     
  17. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Go to any print and copy shop, and beg for scrap paper! Use the back...you really don't have to don't spend money...unless you want to do so.

    The goal is to get the children to work on fine motor skills. In a workshop, I learned that scribbling is considering pre-writing. Child development tells us growth goes from inward out (shoulder to hands)...big (large strokes)to small (fine printing and detailed drawings). So when a three year old makes those large Spirograph :p lines, encourage this! It doesn't have to 'be' anything. All you want to focus on is having this child grip a writing tool, and make those large sweeping movements. In ages 3-5, you will have all ranges. You will have some kids who can write their first and last names! Some will make dots, some scribbles, some use every color in the rainbow. As times goes on, and with guided practice, you will see letters. The idea is not to put your hand on top of theirs, and force children to make letters. Or worse, go to a board and draw a tree and a stick figure dog, and say, "Draw this."

    And... you don't want to have other teachers, assistants, parents and volunteers to draw on the children's papers. Many people do this unknowlingly, when children coax them to do so. They will say, "I want you to do it... I can't make a cat." Who can resist that? Well, I learned I had to. The correct response is... "I want to see your cat...whatever you do will be great." When you draw on their paper, you set up a model that they must follow, and because they don't have the fine motor skills, this sets them up for frustration...so they give up and demand that you do it for them.

    So give them crayons, scratch paper, or a journal of some sorts, and just let them have fun. Save the work, and compare it in 2,4-6 months. The kindergarten teacher will focus more on the correct pincer grasp, and the formation of numbers and letters. :)
     
  18. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    Thank you Master PreK :hugs:
     
  19. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    This is one idea. Get some colorful pom poms and let each child choose one to glue to the middle of their paper. Tell them to write about it. I had so many interesting answers. 'My pom pom is round. It is fuzzy and blue." Others wrote stories about their colorful pom pom.
     
  20. WaProvider

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    I sooooo agree Master PreK!!!

    We loved our journals-and my group really really developed those grasp skills that Kinder loves. They did get quite good at getting people to take dictation and I will be moving over to book making with them this year so that they can abandon the dependence on dictation to a grown up and make approximations with zeal.

    I did love the journals-we often just used plain paper in stapled stacks. When comp books came back after the early fall rush we would move to those w/ a pix on cover of the child. It was wonderful and I think they learned a lot. I hope they will enjoy the book making as well. They started it in Aug (see that thread in the book club) and their pictures immediately jumped up a notch. Now they are working on letters again. It seemed to refresh the idea for my group.

    Congrats on journals or books-and please just let them draw/write-no assignments. There is time for conformity.
     
  21. MissFroggy

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    I am NOT a preschool teacher... but, at my school all teachers do a journal time for a bit every day, or most days of the week. They are just spiral bound notebooks. They are able to do anything they want and later in the year the teacher will start to take dictation for the pictures. The children may start pretend writing or drawing letters if they know how.

    Over the summer I taught 4/5 year olds and during our quiet time I gave them the options of making a book, looking at a book or listening to a book. I made little books out of folded construction paper with white paper. They loved it!
     
  22. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    you're welcomed TS!!! :)
     
  23. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    :)

    If you have some really good work (shame on me... all work is good :rolleyes: for something..), don't be surprised if they snatch it up and say they want to take it home! ask if they can make another one, or sneak into their cubby, copy it, and put it back... :rolleyes: Save the work that depicts areas of growth for your portfolios. No sense it keeping 120 sheets of the same rainbow. Okay, they can make a rainbow!!!

    because at this age... it is not necessary to keep every single page, if you use loose sheets. You don't have to write every single day as well. The point is, to get them into a routine..., sitting, focused, social skills, fine motor...

    And get them ready for the seat work to come... :rolleyes:

    maybe our kids will be lucky and by the time they get to 3rd grade they will live like The Jetsons, and have Palm Pilots and Blackberries or laptops in class, and NEVER have to write again... :p
     
  24. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    yep, currently we have 120 pixs of people on slides. When your group is looking for athorities on slide drawing perhaps we can swap. Your best rainbow drawing for our best playground drawing. Lots of those in our file. I am now changing them for the most current one-but it is funny how they all leap off those cliffs at once. And yes, I am a big fan of the "steal it at rest and make a copy" plan. :angel:
     
  25. SpaceAngel

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    I just started doing journals with my kids. (I work in a Montessori-esque room in a childcare center). My kids have really taken to it. I have a few that do the wavy pencil lines, a few draw pictures that look like pictures, some just color the page in a variety of colors at this point. They know they can choose to write in their journal during our work times. They come to me if they want me to label anything or scribe it.

    One of my boys has been on kick lately. Nearly every day, he wants me to write "There was an ant on my floor. There was a spider in my sink. Then it was time to go to bed. Then it was time to wake up. Then it was time to go to school." There is actually quite a theme right now of bugs in the house with most of my kids. It is only the second week, so I am sure they will start expanding their thoughts soon. Today one little girl randomly looked around the room and named things for me to write!

    But, they are practicing their fine motor skills and conceptualizing that print has meaning, and expressing themselves in the mix. And that is really the point.
     
  26. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    Love it all!!! I can hardly wait to begin our journals! :)
     
  27. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Work that you keep, should be just that. Put it away, and only take it out for parent conferences. Their journals should be available to them, and this is good for behavior concerns too.

    When they are fighting, or something else like that... have them sit down (calm down) and draw a picture and tell you how they feel. It is good to get out that anger. While removing the child from the group and away from other person.

    You may see and hear more than you asked for..:eek:hmy: Lots of anger and hostility as they draw...and they will talk to you and say..."Dad/Mom does this to me..."

    call in the social worker! And save that picture. :unsure:

    On a more positive note... the idea is that the portfolio is an assessment tool..but the journal is like a diary for their own use. So don't be surprised if they come back and see something they don't care for, and rip it out.

    If you kept portfolios out, they could see how their earlier drawings and letters don't match up with current performance. Somebody else may point this out. "That 'F' is backwards!" This will hurt their self esteem. You understand it's mirror writing, but the kids don't want to think they are wrong. That's why you save this work...and share it with the parents only, and if the child is there...and point out how they have improved.
     
  28. wann2119

    wann2119 Rookie

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    I had considered doing this with my 3 yr olds, but then decided they were too young. I enjoyed reading all of the ideas in this thread and plan on adding this to our daily routine. I already have all the supplies, so I'm off to a good start. :)

    This is perfect because I was looking for another learning activity to add to our schedule. Thanks!
     
  29. msnikki

    msnikki Rookie

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    this sounds like a wonderful idea but for some reason i just dont see my 3 year olds doing it.
     
  30. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    you have to try it and see...

    first..if you have all threes, mix them up by abilities and birthdates

    if you have 3-5s, again, mix up the group. Some of my threes are talking much better and writing a lot more than my 5s! All children are different, you should at least try.

    You want to mix them up because if you put all the advanced kids or older ones together, they will do well, but some of the younger ones may do this..

    nothing
    chew the paper, pencils, their clothes
    cry

    but if you put them next to another child, they will try to imitate their behavior. or if they don't seem motivated or uncooperative, the others may coax them. you telling them to do it sets up opposition... and early 3s are still definant 2s (in my mind). but when another child talks to them, "Well that is interesting... I think I will try!"

    one of my three's chewed up his paper and pencil today. :rolleyes:


    for those children, give them scrap paper, and fewer materials. too much is too overwhelming. maybe put them at a smaller table, with one child, or sit with them or have your assistant sit and talk to them.

    hey, that is a typical day for us around here...anything could happen. If nothing else, you at least want them to stay with the activity for 2 seconds. If you keep losing them, give it a rest for awhile, and maybe try again after Christmas break or Spring Break.

    another thought is the writing across the curriculum theory. They say you should have note pads or guess order tickets in housekeeping, so children will pretend to write down food orders. You should have paper everywhere except the water table! Kids should be encouraged to write and report what is happening. some folks don't like it. I am open. Usually,most people don't like it because too many materials are out, and they run the risk of getting ruined (stepped on, broken, markers dry out, etc)

    Actually, I am very impressed with my group. After 4 days, they come in sit down, draw and color cheerfully, listen and stop when I say so, and follow directions.

    I think I will try long division next week. :p
     
  31. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    The three year olds can do a simple version of journaling. Give them some things to glue to paper and let them draw around it. Ask them about it and write it down. You might be surprised!
     
  32. Maxadoodle

    Maxadoodle Comrade

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    We do "story gallery" with our 3s. If they would like to tell us a story, we write down their words exactly as they tell us, and then they illustrate it. Other times, they do a drawing, and tell us about it (we write those words on the back).

    We also do a "self portrait" once each month. This is to show parents their growth from September through May. Often, a parent of an August 3 would compare their child to a child who turned 4 in October. We could then show progress, and that their child was actually right on target. We save these for a memory book at the end of the year.
     
  33. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    :reading:IMO 3's can do a version of anything they are asked to do. That is one reason it is so imporant to know your DAP and offer things that are appropriate vs the other stuff that isn't. Journals, are appropriate as long as they are left up to the children. Don't analyse handwriting or dictate unceasingly what they will discuss.

    Do try it. I think the children everywhere will like it. And what could happen. It is a paper and crayon.

    We loved it. And we were very impressed w/ what they accomplilshed.
     
  34. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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  35. WaProvider

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  36. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    you're welcomed!
     
  37. RedFox

    RedFox Rookie

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    This is my 2nd year teaching Pre-K...last year I did a great deal of writing with the children in my class. I would generally have a topic (when we were learning about the solar system, for example, my prompt was "If I were an astronaut, I would...") and the children would draw a picture and dictate a response. I would hang these up and then send them home at the end of our unit of study.

    This year I am trying journaling by doing essentially the same thing except instead of sending the work home I am putting it in a 3-ring binder (25 cents a piece at Staples!) to show students' progress throughout the year.

    I am really enjoying reading through this thread and getting so many great ideas. I am eager to explain this to parents at back to school night so that they are not surprised that their children's work isn't coming home as frequently.
     
  38. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    make copies for your journals, and send home the originals. I only keep originals if something stands out, like color or glued on work, to show details.
     
  39. Robin

    Robin Rookie

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    I do two different kinds. One is for 'dictations' I actually do these on plain paper that I save and bind later in the year to take home. Dictation questions can be: Who lives with you? If you cooked dinner, what would you make? If you could fly an airplane, where would you go? I write the child's words and ask them to draw a picture. Sometimes all they do is scribble, but it's the idea. The other journals are spiral bounds that they can use during book/literacy time and they are free to do whatever they like in them. It's nice to encourage them to just use one or two pages at a time, since they often will roll right through them. Putting out word or letter models on the table encourages them to 'write'.
     

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