Thursday, February 23, 2012

'A Writing We will Go!

I always wish I could write everything down that I did with my kids that day!  I do have a Mommy journal that I try to write in every night, but wanted to create a journal for Jackson.  So this is what I came up with.

The idea evolved during our Daddy discussion at dinner time.  We always sit down and tell Daddy about our day (I feel this is a very important life skill, family moment and will eventually tie into comprehension for reading)

At first, our journal was called "Daily News for Daddy".  And the first weeks, we really tried to sit down every afternoon before he got home and write in it, happened!  Daily journal writing is great for older kids (kindergarten and up) but no some much for my 3 year old!  ***Keep in mind that a child's attention span is usually their age!  So Jackson's focus is at it's prime for about 3 minutes, then it's on to something else!***

So now we journal whenever Jackson would like to write and/or aim for a monthly entry.  My goal and plan  is to laminate (of course) one entry from each month and create a 12 page Big Book for Jackson of our writing.

If this is something that you might like to do, here's how to get started:
All you need is chart paper (purchase at a teacher supply store) or even larger construction paper works also.  Grab some markers and some round smiley face stickers.  Why Markers?  I don't know about your house, but markers are a BIG deal and when you get to use them, it's such a treat!  Why smiley face stickers?  This is a great way to introduce punctuation.  Once our sentence is complete, Jackson gets to stick the "period" at the end.  A sticker really "sticks out" much more than a dot with a marker!

I always start with asking Jackson what he would like to write about!  Then I shorten those words into about a 4-5 words sentence.  We count as a say each word to see how many words will be in our sentence. Ex:Today is Kaya's birthday. (counting on your fingers...Today(1) is(2) Kaya's(3) birthday(4). I write it, he watches, then we draw a picture about the sentence.  And last we add the date.

OR we create a story as we illustrate.  Jackson is in charge and I just ask simple questions about what he is drawing and why.
This was a story that Jackson made up as we illustrated.  It was about  Jackson and his Nana walking  through the zoo, in the rain, to see a hippo!  Cute, huh?
OR we make a simple list!
Valentine list - Worked on checks/marking off  names as we completed their valentines (green marker)
Our trip to Texas to see Mema list - used it as we packed
This was the month we were learning about Penguins and the Letter/Sound P.  Yep...did all these "p" things in one, fun day!  Then I wrote it out and Jackson went back and circled the words that began with the letter p, which took him about 2 seconds and made me very proud!

Circled the letter "Pp" in each word 
So many great skills have been taught using this simple idea.  Nothing makes me happier when Jackson pulls his journal out and actually "reads" it!  Because he created it (with a little bit of help), he is excited about it!  And that's all that matters!

Happy Learning, Little Ones!


  1. Ashley,
    I LOVE that you're doing this! Yes, you are one blessed momma, teacher, wife, ect! Looking forward to your posts. Any tips on coming up with story ideas AND then writing about them for a 1st grader??


  2. Steph:0) Can't believe your lil guy is in first grade! WOW! Time goes by so fast! I wanna dig in some of my old 1st grade resources so I can post a "quality reply" to your comment. I have some ideas, but wanna back them up with research-based information! I do have a few questions about your lil writer: Does he like writing? Does he like drawing/illustrating better than writing? Is his teacher more concerned (or grades) on his handwriting skills or creativity and ideas within his own writing? In best interest of your kiddo, it's good to maintain a consistency between what he is learning at school and what you do with him at home. Those lil minds can get all messed up and very frustrated! Let me know your thoughts/answers to those questions...and I'll get back with ya as soon as I hear back from ya

  3. Ash - I cannot believe he's a first grader either!! Ok, on to your questions.....1) He doesn't really care for writing. It can look very sloppy when he's in a hurry, but when he takes his time it's great! 2) Starting this year he's more interested in illustrating...last year, he didn't want to do either :0! 3) We are looking for more creativity and ideas within his writing. His response is always "I don't know what to write about" and it's usually 2 sentences...and that's on a good day. A little background might help, too. Last year he really struggled with getting everything perfect. He would get so upset if he had to erase or couldn't think of something and he hated to draw. So, we worked on his confidence and had him start reading. He did really well with that. He doesn't seem to be quite the perfectionist now, but he seems like he's concerned that his idea might not be the coolest one in the class. Hope this helps!

  4. Steph:0) Sorry for the delayed response! Inlaws have been in town! Lots of fun to be had around here! Ok...what does that lil dude LOVE - Fictional or Non-fiction? Dinosaurs? Baseball? His brother:0) Let him write about things that he LOVES! My resources always suggest to start with having the child illustrate their picture first because this allows their ideas to develop and grow through pictures. I used to always make simple booklets (white printer paper; folding in half; stapled) Each page has an illustration on it to tell his story. This might take a few days/nights. Even ask him to label things in his pictures (ex: me, bat, ball) Once his illustrations are complete, then start 1-2 sentences on that page/illustration. Have him tell you the sentence that he is going to write, count the words, then have him write it. I would only do 1 page a night. Don't be to picky on handwriting/letter formation/spelling at this point! We just want him to acquire a passion and purpose for writing. Once his "book" is complete, make a HUGE deal out of it! Have him read it to someone special and/or create a special box to put all of his writing in. Jackson has his own "Made by Me" book box (with a tight lid, so Nixon won't destroy them).
    You might even have him write:
    *his own list (3-4 words) of things HE can pick out at the grocery store
    *Labels around the house (no need for perfection...just have him use his sounds as he writes)
    **I'll be posted some more writing ideas soon on here**
    Happy Writing and Learning! Hope this helps!
    And keep in mind...HE IS ONLY A FIRST GRADER:)

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