Writing Tips and Tidbits

Through the years, writing - the instruction of it - has been a love-hate relationship for me. I absolutely love, love, love journal writing. This is where I find out all of the little details about my students that make them unique and helps me build relationships with them. Strong relationships with students equals better classroom management which makes me a much happier teacher! 

Finding out those little details like winning the big soccer game on the weekend or their beloved cat is sick gives me connections with my students.  Sometimes they need a high 5 and other times they need a pat on the back. The smallest gestures can have some of the biggest payoffs.

Finding time to teach all of the different writing lessons that was on my wish list was the "hate" part of my relationship.  Writing lessons are so time consuming.  But, they are so important, what's a teacher to do?  One morning at 3 a.m. I had an epiphany!  What about a structured writing homework program?  Keep in mind at the time I was teaching kindergarten (2nd quarter).  I sent home a special spiral notebook which was their home journal along with a spaceman and a letter explaining my expectations.  Each week I wrote 2 sentence starters in my newsletter along with my expectations.  In the beginning they had to complete the sentence, begin sentence with a capital letter, end with correct punctuation mark, leave spaces between words, and draw a picture.  I slowly increased my expectations - 2 sentences, 3 sentences, etc.  The amazing thing was the impact this WRITING program had on my READING program!  Even my lowest readers began to soar!!!!  When I stopped and thought about it, it made sense.  Twice a week, a parent is sitting one-on-one with their child helping him/her sound out words.  They are hearing the sound, writing the letter, seeing the letters . . . if we could have thought of a way to incorporate the sense of smell and taste we would have used all 5 sensesI've also used a similar type of Home Journal Homework program with 1st grade and 3rd grade and had the same type of results.  

It's evolved through the year as I worked through the bugs. Overall, I really think it's the support of the parents that makes all the difference.

I just finished a new packet for TPT that includes all you need to incorporate the Home Journal program with your class. It includes a year's worth of assignments. The other part of my "hate" relationship with writing is the amount of time it takes to grade writing assignments.  In this packet are tips to make grading manageable. Plus, other teacher tips that I learned a long the way.

There is a Kindergarten version and  Primary version.


bernrice said...

Hi, Your homework journal looks amazing. Is there a link on the page to the product on TPT? I couldn't find it (but that doesn't mean it's not there!)

LeaD61 said...

Love it!

Erica said...

I wish there was just the packet of the home journal ideas. I don't really want to spend $5 on the home journal ideas, and I don't need the other two items.

Elizabeth Polston said...

My kinder team and I were just talking about doing homework journal writing. Since this is geared for 1st and up, are you planning to do a kinder version like the one you started with? We would be very interested in purchasing that.

Mrs. Polston's Kindergarten

Michelle said...

That is a great idea. I will work on this, this week. If you'd like to give me some input as far as topics/skills that you'd like included, you can email me at: teach123.school@gmail.com.

MrsDM said...

I purchased and use this packet last year and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT as did most of the parents of my students. I only wish I could figure out how to get the children (and parents) to truly do 2 entries a week, not leave them all until the last few days before 'turn in'.

Thank you for this packet, and even though I didn't need all of the other info, I felt that the $5 was a good price considering what I did use! I plan to use it again for years to come!

Michelle said...

Thank you Mrs DM! You just brightened my day. I am so glad to hear you liked this packet. I saw such a difference with my students' reading scores after I implemented this system. That was one of the things I had trouble with, too. There were always a handful of students that left the assignments until the last minute.

Mrs. Yazzie's Classroom News said...

Intrigued by the Home Journal. I can't seem to find a link to it in your store. What am I missing? I'd like to check it out. Thanks!

Michelle Divkey said...

Mrs. Yazzie,

Here is a link: