- spiral bound notebooks (one for each child)
- craft paper
- markers and crayons
- wide clear packing tape
- large plastic bucket with a handle
What to do
1. Introduce the children to the idea of journaling by showing them the notebooks. Explain that each child will have her own notebook. They can use the notebooks to draw in, print words they know, or dictate stories in.
2. Give each child a piece of craft paper to design a label for her journal. Encourage the children to use markers and crayons to draw pictures on the paper. They can cut and paste the paper to make a collage for their notebook or apply stickers to the paper.
3. Ask the children to cut out their labels and apply them to the front of their notebooks using clear packing tape.
4. Show the children the bucket and explain that they can store their notebooks in it while they are not in use. (If possible, use a bucket that is more stylish than a regular mop bucket.)
5. Let the children use craft supplies and stickers to decorate the bucket. Create a label for the bucket ("Journal Bucket") and apply it to the bucket.
6. Keep the journal bucket in the writing center. Remind the children to use their journal during the day. They can write about things in which they are interested or they can draw pictures and make up stories. After a few days you won't have to remind them to use the journals. They will do it on their own.
7. Every few weeks, read the journals with the children and send them home for parents and siblings to read.
8. If desired, keep a class journal in the bucket in which you keep track of everyday and special events. Tape photos of special events to the pages and have the children dictate their thoughts to you. Record these thoughts on the pages. Note: If you have a large class you may need to make two buckets.
More to do
More Writing: Print some simple questions on slips of paper and put them in a separate jar. Let the children take turns drawing a question out of the jar and answering it. Tape the question to the top of a page in their journal and write the child's answer below it. Sample questions are:
- "What do you like about school?"
- "Who are the people in your family? Tell something about each one."
- "Could you do without a TV in your house? Why or why not?"
- "Have you ever traveled on an airplane? Tell about it."
- "What is your favorite story or book? Tell about it."
-Virginia Jean Herrod, Columbia, SC