Interactive journaling is becoming more and more popular in primary classrooms. If you haven't tried them yet, then I really suggest you do! They are really simple to start- no need to wait until the beginning of the year- they can be implemented at any time. Interactive journals provide students with the opportunity to creatively learn. Students have the ability to use the journal as a year long reference and engages them into more critical thinking. I decided to try out interactive journals in guided reading. I found myself losing track of student work completed during GR and also felt like I was re-creating things over and over. I would be able to cover more concepts if my students had something to refer to at anytime (instead of me shuffling through phonics bins to find something that I will only reference for 30 seconds). I also wanted something that would supplement any lesson or focus I was working on in GR. One thing I kept in mind while creating this was
keep it simple
. There are so many great, hidden resources out there that are packed with so much information and steps that it's almost impossible for the teacher to figure out. How do I expect a 5 year old to manage a notebook if I can't keep up with it? My goal was to make sure there was enough challenge, yet a simple, routine format used. So with all of this in mind, I created an interactive guided reading journal aimed for beginning readers. Realizing how much there was to cover, I decided to chunk the journal into parts which I will continue to work on throughout the school year.
Here is part 1!
You can find Part 2
Let me take a second to talk about the amount of cutting and pasting required when using interactive journals... YES you will
run out of the room screaming
experience some difficulties if you expect your 5 and 6 year olds to cut and glue everything perfectly right away- there's no hiding that. However, 1) MODEL MODEL MODEL everything, 2) slowly release the tasks to the student, and 3) provide positive reinforcement for independence - and you will be amazed at how fast your kinder babies will catch on. I suggest the teacher cut out everything prior to the group for at least the first week...or two or three. You know your students. When they understand the purpose of the little folded piece of colored paper they are gluing down, then give them the opportunity to cut it out themselves. Just remind them to only cut on the dotted line- which we know how easily forgotten that can be so I suggest close monitoring- and of course positive praise when the task is completed. Soon enough they will be cutting, folding, pasting all on their own. Don't give up on them. :)
With all of these concerns in mind, I tried to make the cutting as easy as possible. The foldable pieces are squished together on each page to achieve as little amount of cutting possible. If you look at the examples below, you can see each letter or word is right next to one another. Students can do a few snips and its ready for pasting.
P.s. No I do not let them sit there and cut out each puzzle piece. That would be a huge waste of time (and mess). We have lots of pre-made puzzles they get to explore during word work. ;)
Click the picture above or
to download this freebie from my GR journal pack!