Daily Journal Writing - Freebies!

One of the things that is THE hardest going DOWN to first grade from upper grades is how to do writing...especially since I've ever taught the basics of writing.. like what a sentence is, what each sentence needs to have, all that jazz. It was stressing me out. No lie. I LOVE to teach writing. It's really one of my favorite things. Not like 4th grade writing, with the state writing test. Nope. But 2nd and 3rd grade writing? I love it!  You can do so much with the writing.

But beginning year of 1st grade? That was a total shock to me. It really was stressing me out. So I decided to beg for help! haha!

I asked a group of 1st grade friends what they do for writing and some of them had mentioned daily journal writing. That got me thinking. I used to do daily journal writing many years ago. And then for some reason, I got away from it.

Well, I decided to put it back in my routine. 


I love it!  I had forgotten how much I LOVE doing journal writing.  I gave it a go for a little over a week, and decided that it was staying.

So, here is how I do it!

I do not have ready made prompts for my kids. Meaning I don't copy off pages for the month for them to use as writing prompts.  For one, I'm not allowed that many copies - ha! And for two, I generally "don't like" some of the prompts in any book or pack I find.. just because it doesn't fit my kids..especially the seasonal prompts since FL kids don't have seasons - ha!

 I just take a big piece of paper and fold it in half and staple some "storybook paper" in it - about 20 sheets. I actually have them all made already and stored in my calendar bins (thanks to some fabulous volunteers!). I also copied off the cover sheets for each month and have them stored in the bins for the rest of the year.

I let the kids color in their journal covers for that month's journal and then they glued them on the cover. We also do that for our poetry journals that you can check out {HERE}

Then we get to writing! I don't print up prompts for them because I have their topics relate to a lot of what we do in the classroom...which means I don't make the prompts up until we sit down to do the writing - ha! It's not because I'm a bad planner. I just like for the prompts to relate to something we read or did in class and sometimes that means I want to use something from that day. Then I post the question and the entry starter, teaching them to "steal and slide."  I do make them get out their Spelling Journal though,because I have built in word lists for some of our topics. Not that I really care if they spell every word correctly in their journal writing, but they can also use these word banks to help them with ideas to writ about too. 

So this one below was on why Firefighters were important. So on the fall page, there is a section on firefighters they could have used to help them write.

This topic was what their favorite thing about October was. She chose Halloween, so she turned to the Halloween page of the journal.

 You might have seen in my Organizing Calendar Bins post that I had a writing menu in each month's file. I did. And I copy that at a shrinked sized (see how HERE) and have the kids glue it in the front cover of their journal. and that is actually more for me than for them. Most of the time I will have a prompt for them... but there are days where I just can't think of one. So those are the days I'll look on the menu and pick one for them to do. I'll have them color it in though, that way it'll keep me in check on which ones I've already done. You can see they already colored one in. That is the one that says "Free." That was the day I told them to look in their Spelling Journals on the Fall and Halloween pages and just to find some words and use them to help them write.

Now, how long does this last? Well, I give them about 12-15 minutes to write and then I pull sticks to choose 3 people to read.  Then we put them away and then we start into our REAL writing for the day... what some call writer's workshop maybe? I don't know. I just do it. lol

Some students don't have enough time to color their illustration, but those are the kids that generally want to go back when they have free time to finish coloring or drawing about their writing when they finish work or centers. 

I plan to keep these ALL year long and then give them to their parents at the end of the year. This can also be a good example to show at data meetings or parent conferences, right?

So, that's my daily journal writing. What do you do?? I'd love to get some more ideas!

You can see what else I have in my Calendar Bins if you missed that post {HERE}

My post that explains my Spelling Journals is {HERE} or you can check them out at my TpT Store.

If you want the Writing Journal Covers, you can download the freebie {HERE}
And make sure you check out my poetry post - I have the poetry Journal Covers freebie download on that post {HERE}


Adriana said...

Wow, I love this idea! I used to do journaling like this YEARS ago, and yeah, just kind of stopped. Thank you for the inspiration :)

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