Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Journaling Tips for Kids! {Makes pretty dang good writers}



1.  Write in your journals EVERY DAY!
We start on the very first day of school and we continue every day after.  I show them how to write the short date and then I give them a sentence like this:
I like to eat _____________.
They copy the sentence and sound out a word to fit in the sentence.  Then, they draw an illustration.


2. Show them what you expect: 
I enlarge one of their journal pages, write a journal entry, illustrate it and then laminate it. That way, I can use it year after year. I show it to them on the very first day of school.  This is what I expect. I expect good handwriting, finger spaces, sounding out words, and an illustration with 6 or 7 {however old they are) colors included. I start to expect more as the year goes on.

I'm pretty much the best artist...EVER!

3.  Let them write about whatever they want!
YES! They can pick to write about whatever they want.  It's called choice people and it.works.every.time.
Seriously, after the first week of school, they HAVE to think of something they want to write about. I don't give them a prompt or even help them. You don't want them to rely on you every day for an idea.

4. What about if they REALLY can't think of anything?
If I have a student who really can't think of what to write about, I pick from the journal prompt jar. Anyone can use the prompt when I pick it out, but they don't have to.  I got the idea to make my journal prompt jar using a Crystal Light container from Kathleen at Growing Kinders. The prompts are taped to a popsicle stick and I've just added all of the prompts and the journal prompt cover, to my Journal through the Year Pack. It looks like this:
The prompts are taped to a popsicle stick! I have provided you with over 50 prompts. You can get theme {here}!
Then, as I've been Pinteresting lately, I found {this} amazing idea to color one end of your stick red and one end green. Then, when you pick from the jar, you only pick out green sticks. That ensures that you never pick a prompt that you've already done. LOVE!
One end is red                                        One end is green


5. Start at the beginning of the day.
Journals are a great "morning work" starter {without all the worksheets and hassle}.  My students come in to class, vote for lunch, write their password, and start their journals. It takes about 20-30 minutes each day to do journal.  When they are finished, they can do a fast finisher.

6.  Conferencing!!!!! {This step is MUCHO important!}
This is where your students will really make you proud.  When they are finished with their journal, they will bring it up to me. THEY read their journal to me.  I pick ONE thing that I think they should work on {sight words, punctuation, finger spaces, etc.}, circle that one thing, and they go back to their seat to work on it again. When they finish, they show it to me and I put a huge smiley face or sticker on their page!  Not all of your students will be in line for conferencing at one time. Some students take the WHOLE 30 minutes to perfect their journal and some are done in 15 minutes.  It takes no more than 30 seconds to conference with each student. You can do it.

7. Journal Share
Each day I pick 4 students to share their journal with the class. This is where I really motivate them to work hard on their journals.  If they do well on whatever I asked them to work on, they have a good chance of getting to stand up in front of the class and share their journal. Because speaking and listening skills are apart of the 1st grade Common Core State Standards, I use a rubric to grade them on their journal share.
FYI- I didn't come up with this! My teammates have done this forever! 


You can download the journal shares for free {here}.

8. Use developmentally appropriate journal pages.
I know that I used to use composition notebooks for journals when I was first teaching. My students were really struggling with handwriting and spacing.  Since then, I've created a journal writing page that is appropriate for their level. At the beginning of the year, there are only 2 handwriting lines on the page.  Now, there are 8 or 9 lines!  In kinder, you might just want 1 or 2 lines all year. Whatever is appropriate for your students!  You might even want to differentiate between students, too.  Maybe John can have a few more lines in his journal because he's always spilling over to the next page. That's ok!!!  I've included a large variety of journal writing pages in my packet.  Here's an example:


That's all the tips I have for you! I promise your kiddos can do it!  Here are some recent examples of awesome journal writing:






If you have already purchased my Journals Through the Year, go and download it again! I added the journal prompts, more journal covers, and the journal share page!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Journals Through the Year

I love doing journals in my classroom!  Everyday, we write in our journals for 30 minutes {plus writing in Daily 5, plus writer's workshop}.  At the beginning of the year, I ask that they write 2 sentences and now they are up to 10 sentences! They just have so much to say!  I let my students pick whatever they want to write about and the choice really helps them.  Here's an example:




I've made a packet of journal covers and journal writing pages!  
It's a steal of a deal and available in my TpT store now! :)  




This packet gives you everything you need to make writing journals for your students.  These journals are perfect for Work on Writing during Daily 5!

This packet includes:

12 themed journal covers {one for each month}
*August- School themed
*September- Apple themed
*October- Halloween themed
*November- Thanksgiving themed
*December-Christmas themed
*January- Snowman themed
*February- Valentine's Day themed
*March- St. Patty's Day themed
*April- Rain themed
*May- Bug themed
*June- Picnic themed
*July- American themed

5 Non-holiday journal covers {in case your school does not allow holiday celebrations}
*Cowboy themed
*Cooking themed
*Pirate themed
*Rockstar themed
*Zoo themed

21 different options for journal pages
*Handwriting lines
*Regular lines

Journal Prompts
*over 50 journal prompts
*Journal Prompt Cover

Journal Share
*Journal share rubric

There are 21 journal writing pages, but I couldn't fit them all in the preview! :)



For more journal ideas click {here}.




I couldn't help but tell you how many days I have left.....  24!?!?!?!?!?!?! {That's for you, Hadar}

Are you feeling sorry for me?


Friday, May 18, 2012

10 Things

I literally can't believe there are only a couple of school days left!! Where did the year go?? Seriously!!

I made some printables that I wanted to share with you all. I've been thinking about the school year and going over some of the great things we've done in class over the past 9 months. These printables will help your own students reflect on the year and remember all the important things you've taught them.


I'm excited to see all the great things they remember about the year. I hope to see fractions and the Revolutionary War on the list, but I also hope they remember the life lessons and skills I taught them - being nice to others, setting high goals, believing in themselves... I can only hope that they take more than just reading and science away from this year... I hope I've taught them MUCH MORE.


This FREE download includes 3 different printables, so you can copy the one that suits your needs best.

If you can, please leave a comment with some of the "lessons" you hope your students always remember!

For more great lessons and ideas, please check our Teachers Pay Teachers stores by following our links below:


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How many more days, flash sale & A GIVEAWAY!!!

Click the picture!!!




I have 30 more school days left.  It sounds like soooo long!  Since I have so many more days left, I asked some friends of mine if they'd send me some pictures of their students using my This Year Was Out of This World {End of Year Activities}.  Wow!  I got some great pictures back!
Thank you to:
Janae {The Sharpened Pencil}
Chassity
Stephanie {Falling into First}



This one is an activity called "Moon Balloon with Memory Book". Stephanie hung her balloons from the ceiling and at the end of the day, one lucky {on task} student gets to pop the balloon! Inside of the balloon is a question about their school year and they answer in their Memory Book!




Great writing samples!




 This next one is from the "Moon Pie Taste Test":







What cute bulletin boards!!!






All of these activities {AND MUCH MORE} are available in my This Year Was Out Of This World Packet!  I'm having a flash sale on this packet!!!!! It is only $2.75 until Friday!



What would go perfectly with this packet...???..... How about the CUTEST, space themed tags that are a great incentive for your students?  You can read about these awesome BragTags {here}.  My kiddos love them!  

You can get these customized Brag Tags AND any 3 items in my TpT store! 
Here's how you can win {2 ways to enter}:


1. Follow ImageStuff's blog {come back here and leave a comment with your email address}


2. Follow ImageStuff's Facebook {leave a comment on their Facebook saying that What the Teachers Want sent you AND come back here and leave a comment with your email address}


Contest ends Friday at 8:00pm {MST}




Giveaway is now closed! Thanks for entering!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Parent Volunteer Gifts

As the year comes to an end {some earlier than others :) }, I always make sure that my parent volunteers know how much they are loved and appreciated!  I've been brainstorming some gift ideas for my parent volunteers. I got this idea from Crap I've Made!  Here's what I came up with:

I bought these cute scrapbooking scissors {about 1.00 a piece} from Amazon:

And I made this tag:


Then, I wrapped a pair of scissors in cellophane, tied some ribbon on it, and added the tag:


If you have a room-mom or a parent who you want to give extra thanks to, just add a book of scrapbooking paper, a photo album, and a paper punch! :)  I also have a few ideas from my post last year. Check it out {here}.




Do your students struggle with maintaining a tidy desk? Are they unmotivated to do so? My sweet friend, Erica had a request that I make a Desk Fairy Packet {inspired by the Handwriting Fairy}.  So....now I have for you, THE DESK FAIRY! :)  Check it out in my TpT store.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Outlaw Day CrAzInEsS


Today, we had outlaw day!  All of my students dressed up in their cowboy get-up and we learned all about outlaw words, cowboys, and even some animals!
Next year, I'm going to do an "outlaw week"! There was just too much fun to squeeze into one day!



I gave each of my students a handkerchief with this little poem on it:



I found these sheriff badges at Walmart for .97 for 4! The best part is, I used them as a management tool. I told them they had to earn their badge with good behavior.


We ate horse feed {shredded wheat (hay) and Cherrios (oats)} and we had rope snacks {licorice}:


Look at these cute boots {it gave me the perfect excuse to bust out my $17.99 boots from Ross}:

And of course we did lots of practice with our Outlaw Words Centers:






Then, we did the silliest square dance.... EVER!  







It was such a FUN day!!!!!!

All of these activities in this post {plus some} are included in 
my NEWLY REVAMPED...

In this packet, you will find:

*Outlaw Word Book {large & small}
*Roundin' Up Words {oy and oi word sort}- with recording sheet
*Spinnin' Spurs {ight word practice}- with recording sheet
*Boots or Books? {oo word sort}- with recording sheet
* Sheriff's Round Up {words that end in y}- with recording sheet
*Horse Corral {words that end in y}- with recording sheet
*Outlaw Word Cards- with recording sheet
*Moo! {outlaw word game}
*Cowboy Sentence Corrall {sentences using outlaw words}- with recording sheet
*Don't Get Poked {silent letter game}- with recording sheet



Plus...Newly Added:
Outlaw Day
*Outlaw day note to parents
*Snack ideas
*Pennant Banner
*Handkerchief Poem
*If I were a cowboy
*If I were a cowgirl
*Cowboy/Cowgirl tree map {whole class and recording sheet}
*Cowboy/Cowgirl bubble map {whole class and recording sheet}



So, if you've already purchased this packet, go and re-download it for free in your purchases! If you haven't bought it yet, it will be on sale until Sunday night!

Click {here} to see it!

Monday, May 7, 2012

TPT Sale - Our Favorite Purchases

Have you been enjoying the Teacher Appreciation sale at Teachers Pay Teachers?! 


We've been finding lots of goodies to use in our classrooms for the end of the year AND stocking up on some super cute lessons and activities for next year!!


If you want to join in on the fun and tell us your favorite purchases, just right click the graphic, save it, and link up with Erica!!!!


Here are some of our favorites!!


Rachelle's Faves:

First of all, you know my students are OBSESSED with Star Wars {check out this post here}.  I cannot even wait to introduce them to the 3D shapes using Star Wars names! This packet is from Natalie's Nook.



I am teaching adjectives this week and so I snagged this one. Let's just say...it's been a HIT today in my class!!!!  I HIGHLY recommend it! Thanks, Abby from The Inspired Apple!!!


I cannot even wait to use this next year with my kiddos!  I know that it takes some time to learn names, but what a great way to learn games WHILE integrated math and literacy!  Kim Adsit  from Kinder Gals is a rock star!


Oh wow, Michelle from Fabulous in First...you've outdone yourself with the cuteness of this one!!!!  It's not only super cute {love the clipart from Melonheadz}, but it's a PERFECT unit to teach punctuation!!!! LOVE!




Natalie's Faves:
This Landforms pack was made by the fabulous Amanda Nickerson from One Extra Degree. It was made for her 3rd graders but fits perfectly with my 5th grade science core!! I'm so excited to use it next year!!


My bloggy friend, Cheryl Saoud, from Primary Graffiti created this super cute Cherry Blossom unit! It's a great way to tie literature with science and social studies! LOVE IT!!
{P.S. I also love her Data Notebook and Fables Unit... check them out too!}


This Geometry for Kids! unit made by Crystal Spencer is great! This will be a perfect way for me to introduce geometry to my students next year! 


Oh, and I just posted my new Bubble Borders clip art set! 51 borders total in lots of bright and fun colors! Check it out HERE!


You still have time to get 20% off plus an extra 10% by using the coupon code TAD12 !!!!!

Natalie's Store {here}
Rachelle's Store {here}
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