Monday, July 23, 2012

Earning your RIGHT to Write!

Friends~I love to encourage hard work through a bit of goal setting. One of the ways that I do this is to give my students a Back to School Writing Journal on the first day of class.  This journal is a great review of writing skills from first grade.  My students begin showing off their writing skills on day one and I am able to asses so many things from it!  I also love that I don't have to recreate the wheel at the beginning of the year coming up with writing activities.  They are at my finger tips!


The nice thing about this journal is that it includes 53 pages of activities for you to use with your class.  I combine this into a book with my book binding machine and double sided copies to save on paper.

You will find many simple writing warm ups like editing, bubble maps, making lists and an opinion piece.
These activities are great sheets to assess skills like: handwriting, spelling, phonics, fine motor, punctuation, editing, expressive language and so much more. 

The activities become more complex as you go through the packet with items like all abouts, letter writing, small moments, and how tos.  All of which are writing techniques taught in writer's workshop.  I love being able to see just where my students are in writing while also allowing them to be successful at the beginning of the year.
Here is where the fun comes in!  My students must complete the packet in order to "earn" their Writing Notebooks!  I make a huge deal out of this.  I tie ribbons around the journals and add toolkits to the top.  I keep them in a tub in the front of the classroom and refer to them often while we are "earning" them!
Grab a 2 page FREEBIE from my file by clicking the image below!

Here is what out journals look like without the ribbon and fan fair!

The best part is what comes on top!  It is our Writer's Workshop Tool Kit.  They all start out pretty much the same way.  There is a matching label, inside you will fine 2 new pencils, a red pen, a green pen, and a spaceman.  As the year goes on I may add the following:

A highlighter for kiddos that need to highlight their punctuation.
A ruler to help with writing on the lines.
A diagram of the Writing House for letter formation.


Here is a picture of their Tool Kits!
Click the picture below to download a 
FREE copy of my Tool Kit Labels!


I got the little cases at Target.  The are made of super sturdy plastic.  I laminated the labels and then taped them on with book tape. I love that with these tool kits my students have pencils, erasers, red pens for editing, green for revising, and a "spaceman" or Popsicle stick for remembering to leave spaces at their fingertips.  The cases are then velcro-ed to the Writing journals and stored in tubs in their table group work stations.

I have found that since the students "earned" their journals that take much more care to do quality work in them.  I even let the journals take a field trip home after each writing unit.  My students love sharing their work with their families.
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