Thursday, April 12, 2012

Poetry Journals and Writer's Workshop Notebooks!

I've VERY excited about this post! My co-teacher (Crystal Sessums) and I have been mulling over "what to do about next year"-a typical question that passes through EVERY teacher's mind around this time of year. I LOVE this time of year! No, not because school's almost out (well, maybe a little!), but because I get to analyze what worked and what didn't work this past year and start planning for the upcoming school year. I always order professional books, (see "Professional Books" for the recent ones I've ordered and am studying), and start figuring out what I want to throw out that was a ridiculous idea that CLEARLY didn't work, and what I want to change and incorporate for next year.

Okay...enough jibber-jabber...Here's our two newest and greatest ideas for next year! (I'm sooo excited about this!!!!)

Poetry Journals! I'm in Texas, and the new STAAR test is ALLLLLL about poetry. So, after much research and digging for ideas, we've finally came up with an age appropriate poetry journal for our kiddos. Most of the ones we found online were geared toward K-1. We're 4th grade, and this journal would work for 2-6th or 7th, or even higher.

First, we started with a typical composition notebook. We decorated and labeled it:

After that, we worked toward figuring out what we wanted the kiddos to know in their "Poet's Toolbox" (what all good poet's use to write great poems). We typed that up, adjusted it a few times, and glued it to the front inside cover of the journal:We then discussed which types of poetry we definitely wanted our students to learn and came up with an informative sheet to glue into the back part of the journal:

Here, also, are a few of the ideas we decided to take note of inside our sample journal, of what we want to use this poetry journal for:


This past year, and years before, we have only had to focus on personal narrative writing in 4th grade, so a folder has done the trick as far as keeping things organized. NOT ANYMORE! With the new STAAR test, we are required to teach persuasive, informative, and entertaining writing. So Crystal and I brainstormed a way to reorganized our Writer's Workshop. We decided we need more space..which is where the "notebook" Vs. "folder" comes into play. We are planning on purchasing (yes, with our own money) enough white 1 inch or 1 1/2 inch binders for two classes (assuming we'll be switching only twice). Each part of the notebook will be divided into sections: Basic information, persuasive writing, informative writing, entertaining writing, and extra notes. It also will have a clear pouch to hold colored pencils (for revising and editing), highlighter, post-its and extra pencils/erasers. Behind each divider will be their flow charts and roughdrafts, plus any notes that will help them with that style of writing. Here are the snapshots of what we are planning on (if you have any suggestions, please share!):