Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I love writing in journals. I love that you can add foldables. I love that you can go back and see your accomplishments and review what you learned the week or month before. I love that it eliminates paper clutter. So, I wanted to share with you how I am setting up our class journals this year.

We will be using five, yes five, journals in my class.
  1. Reading
  2. Math
  3. Writing
  4. Science
  5. Morning Work
As I was doing some research this summer, I found a great way to organize journals. We will be preparing and personalizing our journals the first week of school. We will be doing one a day. Each student will follow directions to prepare their own journals.

Start with a class set of notebooks. I have always used spirals, but the pages tear out so easily! I love that composition notebooks are more like books. They are sturdier and our school supply list asks for them, so that is what we will be using this year!

You will need duck tape and matching ribbon. You will also need clear contact paper or mod podge.

  1. Place a strip of duck tape to the spine of the notebook. This makes it easily recognizable when they are in student desks. Our reading notebooks will have red spines.
  2. Guide students through setting up pages A-E and numbering the pages up to a number, I think we will number up to 10 to start.
  3. Allow students time to personalize their notebook covers.
  4. After school place clear contact paper over the cover to protect the student's artwork and to make the front cover sturdier.

Here is my semi-personalized journal cover. I am going to let my students use stickers, construction paper, markers, crayons, etc. to decorate their front cover. After school, I will cover each with clear contact paper. To me that is easier than mod podge, but that is up to you! Here are a few other examples:
I don't want magazine pictures or things like that on our notebooks, so we won't have that option.

This is what the first few pages will look like. Notice that the first pages are marked with letters and the numbered pages don't start until after the Table of Contents.

This will be for grading purposes. It will help us keep track of the grades they earned on their journal entries. 
We will be keeping a Table of Contents as we add to the journal. 
I want to reserve plenty of space for the Table of Contents.
 I know that some teachers have their students glue a table of contents onto these pages. That way they just have to fill it out, but I think we can manage this.

Then we will start numbering the pages in the upper outer corners. We need to leave room under the numbers for the date. 
This is why you need the ribbon. It becomes a BOOKMARK! That way they can easily open to the last page they were working on! I just taped it to the inside back cover. I will be adding small manila envelopes on top of this to hold any small pieces we may not be finished with on that day.

I am hoping to post pictures of my student's journals after our first week of school. I can't wait to see how they turn out!


Anonymous said...

I did my first journals this year. I sliced the comp book in half and decorated them to look like a comic book. I really wish I had seen the ribbon book mark before. I seriously wish I had put some Modge Podge on them before I set the kids lose on them. Thanks for the ideas.

Mrs P said...

Keep us updated as to how they work! I've been using journals for subjects for about 5 years, and haven't quite perfected the best use for them. (Was a completely new concept for me when I moved to Australia from the US, where it's apparently the done thing going way back.) I want to impliment the ribbons and envelops as well, and like the idea to number the pages.

Room 214-Ms. Wenzel's Blog said...

What did your journals look like in 2nd grade? I'm curious! If you don't mind,I'm going to share this post with a couple of our higher elementary teachers! Your ideas are wonderful!
SMILES and stop by anytime!

Anonymous said...

I love this idea! Can you give me some ideas of what your Math, Science and Morning Work journal ideas look like? I switched grades from first to fourth and am pretty overwhelmed!

Crafteechic said...

I will be teaching 3rd grade math and science and I requested comp notebooks for math but not for science. I really wanted them to use the unruled ones but they are too expensive (like seriously how much could it be to NOT put lines on the page). I appreciate you adding the foldables. Now I need to rethink this because they will need one for science too!! TFS

Becca Morris said...

@Crafteechic: I love our journals! It is great to see all the work at the end of the year. It gives you a feeling of accomplishment.

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