6/20/2016

5 Benefits of Whole Class Journals

Writing time is crucial for students. Each child needs to be writing multiple times a day. Parts of the day, that writing needs to be teacher directed, so the student is learning a new skill and improving with teacher guidance. Other parts of the day, that writing needs to be student (or self) directed.

I use Whole Class Journals with my students and there are numerous benefits to using these journals but I am going to discuss 5 main benefits from incorporating these journals into your daily routine.



1. Whole Class Journals build CREATIVITY.

Creativity is stifled in classrooms more and more these days. Now, I am a teacher myself so I am in no way faulting the teacher. When we think about it, how do we have time to allow the children to be creative? I mean we have Guided Reading, Guided Math, Read-Alouds, Spelling, Science, Social Studies, Handwriting and let us not *ever* forget...ASSESSMENTS. (audible groan) But we all know as good teachers (okay we are great teachers) that creativity is a MUST!


Whole Class Journals allow the students to grab a journal, and write. Yep, I said it...grab a journal...and write. No rules, no one standing over their should correcting their grammar...they. just. write. My kids are so creative during this time. I absolutely love going through and reading these journals (and so do all of the students.) Which brings me to point #2.

2. Whole Class Journals build COMMUNITY.

Students love to support one another. Now when we are breaking up that fight on the playground, it may not *seem* like they enjoy lifting each other up, but they really do. With Whole Class Journals, children can choose any journal, and any topic in that journal. After writing, the can flip through and read other student's entries in that journal. My students become so much closer because of these journals. Sounds crazy right? I love building community in my classroom anyway...but many times I feel like I am forcing it and it is not coming organically. With these journals though, I might have a student's mouth drop open and say to his friend at his table "I had no idea your Dad played pro football for 3 years." (true story.) Students that might otherwise not ever notice they have anything in common will read these journals and find a common link in the classroom.



3. Whole Class Journals build on WRITING SKILLS.

These Whole Class Journals build on different writing skills. In my classroom I have Letter Writing, Poetry, Procedural, Persuasive, Expository, and Narrative Whole Class Journals. The students get to choose the journal they want; it does not matter to me because I need each of them working on every skill. I love how it just magically works out sometimes that Jimmy wants to do Letter Writing for the 10th time but it isn't available so he tried Procedural and LOVES IT! (true story, made up the name.) :) I also love it when Jimmy gets a reading passage two weeks later that has "steps" in it and he says "Oh, this is like that Procedural Whole Class Journal." (another...true...story.) #win.



4. Whole Class Journals build WRITING FLUENCY.

Well, let's face it...all five of these reasons can't be mushy and gushy. Writing Fluency is a real struggle. I have my students grab a journal any time they are done with work and sitting there making faces across the room at another student (you know it is true.) I pride myself on setting up Choice Boards (which are amazing), and Fast Finisher Activities (which are equally as amazing) but in the end...the Whole Class Journals win. Why? Writing Skills-check, Handwriting-check, Sentence Fluency-check, Reading (other journal entries)-check...the list goes on. I can conquer many skills with one fun activity for the student.





5. Whole Class Journals build PRIDE.

Back to the mushy, gushy I suppose. :) I love seeing the PRIDE in my student's faces when they complete a writing. The students are proud that their peers will see their work, I will see their work, and that they are forever imprinted in the Whole Class Journal. At the end of the year, I draw names and give journals out to the students so they can take them home. These journals become part of our class and daily lives.


I appreciate you reading this post and I hope you will take the opportunity to try a page of these labels for FREE

I am including my instructions from my store on here so you will understand how to use these on Avery Labels! These are cheap and so easy to use!

What are Whole Class Journals?

Whole Class Journals are journals (or composition notebooks) you keep in your classroom for all of the students to use. The students can grab them any time they have extra free time and write in the journals or read what other students have written.

In my classroom, I like to do Whole Class Journals for major skills such as Letter Writing, Persuasive Writing, Poetry, Procedural Writing, Narrative Writing, and Expository (or Informational) Writing.

The cool thing about these though...they are perfectly aligned to be printed on Avery 18163 Labels. You can print and have 30 stickers to use on your journals (see pictures in the preview.) I have also included a cover for your journal, an instruction page for the students (glue this on the first page of the journal), and a back cover where the students can write their name after they finish a prompt.

The students love these journals because the entire class can take ownership for the writings! The students also love to read other writings from the students in their class. 


NOTE: The PowerPoint is set perfectly with JPEGs of the labels so they will work on ANY PRINTER! Please do not move any of these or it will not print correctly. I have tried these on multiple printers and I assure you they will line up perfectly without changing anything. PLEASE do not adjust margins or try to make the labels bigger.

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6/09/2016

TPT Follower Send Out

Each month I send out a Follower Note to my TPT Followers! I mean...I love each and every one of them!! I send out free items, updates, etc! 

I have been doing Teachers Pay Teachers for almost 3 years now and could not for the life of my ever figure out how to add an image to the send out. I know...kind of ridiculous right? You would be surprised though...I am not alone!

I took some silly screen shots to maybe help you through the process. I hope you find these as helpful as I did! (I cannot take credit for figuring this out...Crystal Wyatt, another TPT seller told me how!) But I wanted to spread the word a bit! lol.

First, go to the product you want to show the image of in your note to your followers. Ignore the bad lighting and pictures, you will still get the point from these! :)


Next, right click and some options will come up...my problem is, I have been clicking on "copy picture," and that does not work. Click on COPY (or COPY IMAGE FROM.)



Go to your Note to Followers, and you will see a tiny picture looking image on the toolbar. Click on that.
 

 Do CTRL V (or paste) in the IMAGE URL box and click INSERT.

And your new photo will be added to your send out!

Preview it before you send and you are DONE!


Again, I know NOW this seems so simple...but I really haven't been able to figure it out. Now these do not LINK within the picture...that is a whole different deal...maybe 3 years from now I will tackle that one. lol.

Have a great week!




6/03/2016

End of the Year Gift for Rex's Teacher!

Well the end of the year is finally here! 2015-2016 has been an interesting year for us! Interesting in a great way though!

My sweet little guy has graduated from Pre-K and is wrapping up is last week at school. Isn't he adorable! :)


Anyway, we wanted to do something fabulous for his teacher for her end of the year gift, she has been amazing to him this year and I am so thankful for her!

I'm going to show you the finished product first, then tell you how I did it and where I got all of the items you need to make it!


See? I told you it was fabulous! What teacher wouldn't love a basket full of ice-cream fixins (yes, I said fixins, I am from Texas.) :) Besides, Mrs. Megan has two daughters of her own, ice-cream is probably a staple around her house if her children are ANYTHING like mine!

How did I do this? It really was simple and relatively inexpensive! First, head on over to Primarily Speaking's Blog and download these adorable tags. I laminated mine, you do not have to but I found that they stick and stand up better if you do.

Then I found the cups and spoons on Amazon.



The rest of the items I grabbed from Target!


These were a steal in the dollar spot at Target! I bought three of them, and they were perfect for the treats that go on top of ice-cream!



I did sprinkles (or jimmies) in one, M&M's in another, and nuts in the last one.


I bought a little treat bag in the dollar section too but ended up not using it, so I rolled it up and put it in the basket too. That is what these jars are sitting on right here though. :)


I also snagged this string in the dollar section of Target. I tied some around the set of spoons to keep them together, then tied some around each of the things I included in the basket (the glass jars, hot fudge sauce, and caramel sauce.)


Now, I am terrible...I repeat terrible at arranging things in baskets for gifts. It's pathetic really, but this one worked out okay. I put tissue paper in the bottom and just began arranging. It took a while, but I finally got it the way I wanted!


Then I added the tags!


I did this one on the front, and the "Just Add Ice-Cream" one in the basket!

And once again, you have the finished product!


I truly can't wait to give this to his teacher, it was so fun to make! Rex even helped me on some of it!

Anyway, I hope this helps you and you find this as adorable as I did! Have a fabulous summer everyone!!


Engaging Readers in Informational Text

Do your students gravitate more toward fiction books? I have often faced this problem as well. When I think about it, maybe it isn't a ...