Remember the Field Trip Journals? We’re still using them this year and I couldn’t be happier with them. They are proving to make great writing assignments, and I’m finding the kids absolutely love looking through them for the memories. I love to watch the kids sort through brochures, ticket stubs and pictures trying to decide what to include and how to organize the memories. They’re going to make wonderful keepsakes!
After coming back from Michigan with 100 pictures, several brochures and tons of memories, I racked my brain for a practical way to put it all together. Then I remembered Sheri’s blog and the notebooks she uses with her Five In A Row studies. Perfect!
I found the 10×10″ spiral notebooks in the scrapbooking section at Walmart. The covers are plain and colored, so they will decorate nicely when we get around to it. Inside, there are 50 card stock, archival quality pages just the perfect size for a memories journal.
I copied several pictures from the trip in wallet size. Then, gave the kiddos the pictures, some brochures, scissors and glue sticks, and let them have at it. The only thing I asked was that they write some of their memories on each page. How’s that for a secret writing lesson?
They loved this “assignment”! We all agreed that we should try to do a page or two for each of the field trips we take this year. What a great keepsake these will make!
Grandma, read no further!
Here’s an idea from the Holidays Around the Year book that we did as part of our seasonal Friday lesson last week.
We learned the science behind suminagashi art (marbling paints) and created beautiful card covers. Inside the kids have written letters to both sets of grandparents for Grandparent’s Day. We finished them off with some raffia decoration and, voila, a great keepsake for the grandparents (and a nice science and writing lesson for school!)
I bought a marbling kit several years ago that has lasted me forever. That’s what we used for this project.
If writing isn’t a natural passion for your child, it can be a subject full of drudgery. Believe me, I know. Up until this year Mahayla has fought me tooth and nail over any sort of writing assignment. This year has been different, though. I believe she’s enjoying writing partly because of maturity, but I’ve made a real effort to make writing more exciting this year, too. I’ve already mentioned the writing prompts, so I thought I’d pass along some of the other ideas that are working.
Jill Novak has written a wonderful book called The Gift of Family Writing. In the book, she encourages the use of journals for each member of the family to write down life’s stories as they happen. I blog, that’s what I consider my journal. For Mahayla, I’ve made journal writing fairly structured for now. Once a week she has gets to write in her journal. I usually give her the assignment on Monday since so many memory-type stories come out of the weekend fun. She is actually LOVING this journal writing thing! And what wonderful memories she’ll have of her childhood as we save the journals over the years. I can even see her learning to enjoy this so much that she begins to write out journal entries when they aren’t assigned.
As for Caleb, we are just beginning his journal. It’s an assigned time each week, too. As Jill suggests, for now, his journal is strictly narrated to me as I write what he says. Jill believes getting the stories out is more important than the drudgery of actually writing for younger ones. Telling their stories and then reading their stories back to them will develop much more in depth, real writing than if a child were struggling to physically write it themselves.
Early in 2007, I let Mahayla start a blog. She made entries here and there, but was never consistent. In my goal planning for her year, I knew I wanted her to write more, get typing practice, and learn more about the computer. So…..giving her a weekly blog writing assignment became part of the curriculum. Again, this has been a “hit”! She’s allowed to write about anything she wants – even copying a recipe from a cookbook counts – so the assignment ends up being fun. It especially helps that other little girls comment on her entries. Doesn’t everybody prefer a real audience for their writing?
I also have plans for taking one week each month and spending the language arts time doing a Family Newsletter. There won’t be any spelling, grammar, copywork, or other writing assignments the whole week. That time will be spent writing, editing and publishing a newsletter using a computer template. At the end of the week, the kids will mail off the Westward Gazette (or whatever they decide to call it) to family members. Our first newsletter won’t go to press for another week, but the kids are already excited about it. I’ll let you know how it goes.