I’ve used writing journals since I started teaching. When I began, my purpose was to get my special education students to begin to write (which they weren’t used to doing). It helped them get into a routine and get set to start working. It was also a way to buy myself some time so that I could see who brought the homework, pass out the homework stars, and take roll.
However, although my purpose is the same (to get their juices flowing, take roll, establish a routine), the journals have become so much more. I knew I needed to go to another level with the journal writing, but I’d hit an impasse lately. I didn’t want it to be just a busy activity. I was also frustrated after periodically checking my student’s journals. Some were doing a fantastic job, while others were not doing them at all. But, that was the extent of it. The writing wasn’t going anywhere. I knew I needed an extension activity, so the journals wouldn’t just be something that we did and never looked at it again- as was happening.
That’s why I was so inspired by a training I recently attended through Catapult Training. I asked the trainer about extension activities and she gave me the idea of having my students choose their favorite journal entry to extend into a story, complete with a beginning, middle, and ending. I presented the idea to my students and most of them embraced the concept. As of yesterday, I have six completed stories- almost half the class. Of course, the completed stories are from the higher performing students. Now, all I need to do is get the struggling students to complete it. I know this is easier said than done. So, I will set aside some time, sometime during the day, to help the struggling students with their work. I made this graphic organizer ( I don’t know if I thought it up, or saw it somewhere else) called And then… This was my way of helping them to keep their story going. We did it as a whole class activity. That’s a whole ‘nother post, which I will probably post on Monday when I have the student’s story in front of me. So, bye for now.
HERE’S TO 2011!