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Monday, May 25, 2015

Jotting Journal

This year my team and I put a lot of focus on writing. If you live in Ohio, than you are familiar with TBT's, and all of the fun they entail. For the second semester we used writing as a TBT, and it was great. Our kids understood how to write the date, and how to use commas in a series. They knew that Target starts with a capital T, and that Mrs. Duris goes to Starbucks a lot. They understood the use of a topic sentence, and the purpose it served. Now, what's the problem you ask? They couldn't just write. If I said, "We are going to free write today. Write about what ever you want to." All I would hear is, "I don't know what to writeeeeeee!" And so was born the Jotting Journal. The Jotting Journal allowed the kids to do a quick write about whatever they wanted. The fact that we called it a Jotting Journal was just half the fun. The kids loved learning about what it means to "jot something down" and then using that phrase throughout the day. We had a couple "rules" when we used our Jotting Journals. First, we would color for four minutes. The space at the top allowed the kiddos to draw a picture, and then they
were able to write about the picture. Drawing the picture first got their creative juices flowing. After the four minute quick draw, I would set the timer for writing. I started small, but as their stamina grew, I set the timer for a longer amount of time. We started at four minutes, and grew to about 15. I am really proud of how far they came! I no longer heard "I don't know what to write Mrs. Duris!" 

In my TpT Store, this journal includes printing directions, two options for a cover, and five pages. Obviously you can print as many pages as you want to make the journals as long as you want. I found that five pages was perfect for one week, and many more pages and the covers would start to come off from wear and tear.  I love using this product in my classroom to help my students become more enthusiastic about writing!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Round Up!

It's been a while, no? I hope you did some good shopping on TpT during the sale. I know I did! I am in lovveeeeeee with my new teacher binder/planner/awesomeness from A Modern Teacher. Check out the Flamingo print that I got HERE. I am SUPER pumped about it. If you know me as an educator at all, I am overly organized and LOVE anything that is pretty and helps me organize! 
I also got THIS cute memory book that I will work on with my firsties for the remainder of the year. I LOVE that it puts a big focus on writing, which had also been my focus! Our district has put a district wide initiative in writing, so I am SO glad I was able to pull that in to wrap up our year. 
I also got this awesome guided reading packet that will help me when I am pulling small groups next year, and will zero in on what we are working on each day. I am SUPER excited about this product from Kristen Smith!
Anddddd last but not least, I got this no prep packet to send home with my kiddos over the summer. I figure the worst thing that would happen is that they don't do it. 
I am so unbelievably in awe of the awesome products that teachers make. Seriously, it is so good. There is no publisher that can create products that can be tested in the classroom like teachers can. And to be able to go back and make changes? How awesome!
What did you get during the big sale?!