For any writer who wants to keep a journal, be alive to everything, not just to what you’re feeling, but also to your pets, to flowers, to what you’re reading-May Sarton
I always liked the idea of a journal. I say the idea of a journal because, despite my best intentions, I can’t seem to keep at it. I always start with great enthusiasm but then it fades and I put it aside. I think it’s because my hand gets tired of writing and my writing is pretty messy. I love paper and pens and beautiful blank books with endless lines just waiting for my life stories to be recorded. A friend of mine gave me a beautiful leather bound journal that I love to hold and look at and imagine all of the things I will probably never write in there. This blog is the closest I will come to a real journal, I’m afraid.
My students journal daily as part of their center time. They have a choice of writing on paper or writing on their iPads. We use an app called iDiary for Kids. iDiary is a journaling platform where students can write personal journal entries, draw pictures or upload images from the camera roll. Stickers are also available to enhance the page. The kids can personalize their journal by choosing cover color and an animal icon for the front. They can even choose font and font size. They like that there is a password (which I set the same for all.)
Journal writing is a great way for students to record the events of their day and use sequencing skills to do so. Students who are reluctant writers are motivated to write in the app. Students have voice and choice in their writing by choosing paper or iPad. They also have choices in topics, pictures, look and style. Some of my students enjoy writing about whatever theme we are discussing in class, others write about family events, favorite activities or what they’ve done during the school day. Journal writing is a chance for a child to explore his/her mind. It develops communication skills and strengthens the reading-writing connection. By having kids write every day in their journal, we are building stamina for writing longer pieces. In November, my students were writing 1-2 sentences over 15 minutes and they thought that was looong. Now, they sit for 20 minutes to an hour writing and writing and writing. Because their keyboarding skills are so emergent, they type far less than they will write on paper. It isn’t unusual at all for my kids to get up and get a second or third sheet of paper when writing.
Developing strong writers and readers is critical to life long learning. iPads give my children choices in their learning. When children can take charge of their own learning, they are automatically engaged.
Today, we will do exciting new things. Let’s get to it!