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Kindergarten Journal Writing

In Kindergarten there are many different teaching techniques and strategies when it comes to the writing process. There are also many differing views on how writing should be taught (and whether or not it should be taught!). In my Kindergarten class, I always began the school year by having children start writing with what I called 'journal writing.'

In the beginning…
In the beginning of the school year the children start off by copying a sentence and corresponding illustration (yes, the teacher writes the sentence and also does the drawing!). Why does the teacher have the children copy both the sentence AND the drawing? There's a lesson here and it is two-fold: handwriting practice and drawing/sketching techniques. I make the writing something relevant to the children so the sentence is meaningful to them, i.e.,

It is important that writing has meaning because at this stage, many Kindergartners often do not recognize their letters nor understand that when letters are strung together they have meaning.

The drawing or sketching is also a lesson although not an extensive, time-consuming activity. It is designed to provide the children with some basics in drawing. Young children often cannot draw pictures because they haven't been taught any basic techniques. The illustration includes a 'setting,' if appropriate.

Typical journal entries, as the example above, are not very complicated. The children help to generate the sentences based on what is going on that day, although it may be necssary for the teacher to help. If possible, incorporating the five Ws (who, what, where, when, why/how) is often helpful in providing the setting for the illustration.

Journal Entry Format

At the top of each page, each journal entry begins with the date and the child's name, both written on the top line as indicated. If the journal writing is done as an independent group activity, at the beginning of the school year I put out a rubber date stamp for the first two weeks and the children are only responsible for writing their first name and stamping the date as it is often challenging enough to get that much written! Later, they will be responsible for writing out the entire date along with their full name.

Journal Writing Paper

Kindergartners use what is called 'story' paper. There is a space at the top for a picture and lines at the bottom for writing. Print the Kindergarten Writing Paper, punch holes in it, and place it into a binder for your little writer!

©1999–2011    Sherry
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