I just finished my 3rd year of teaching first grade and I still can’t get over how much GROWTH our precious firsties make in one year! Blows me away every.single.year! It’s one of the things I love the most about primary grades! It’s so exciting to see our kiddos grow from the beginning of first grade to the end of first grade! When I was looking through my students files at the end of the year, I was AMAZED at how far they had come, especially in their writing. At the end of the year you almost forget what it was like at the beginning!
As I was looking through my student writing samples though, I wished I had a better system of organizing them and documenting the overall growth they had made in the year! The more I thought about it, the more I wanted a better system for not only the end of the year but for throughout the year. I wanted something I could easily pull out and use at parent/teacher conferences. I wanted something that I could quickly grab to show documentation at a data meeting or an instructional planning meeting. I wanted something that I could use for my students to see their own personal growth and celebrate it together! I didn’t like the random writing papers or multiple journals we use for writing throughout the year-I wanted a snapshot of their writing all together, organized, manageable, and easily accessible.
So, after a lot of thinking and laying in bed late at night unable to sleep because my teacher brain wouldn’t turn off, I am so excited to begin using this next year:
This journal will be a GREAT resource for an overall writing sample to document each child’s growth during and throughout the year.
There will be a spot for them to write their name throughout the year:
I plan on having them do this once a marking period, but you could put 2 pages in your journals and have them do it once a month.
I plan to start having my students write in their journals on our first day of school:
I will have them write about what they had First Day Jitters about after reading my favorite first day read aloud:
I LOVE this story! If you don’t have it, you can check it out: here!
Then I will plan one writing time a month for the students to draw and write specifically in these journals:
The lined page on the left side is the back of October’s writing page. Each writing page comes with a lined back so that your journal can meet the writing needs/lengths of all of your students!
I will use one of the suggested writing prompts, included in this packet, for each month’s writing sample:
I have lots of plans for these writing sample journals and I have listed some of the ways to use them below!
These journals are great to use for:
*Ongoing Informal Assessment and Instructional Planning
*Data or Instructional Support Meetings
*Building confidence, setting goals, and celebrating the growth in each child’s work (children need to see and hear how great they are doing and how they have grown!)
Since I believe that celebrating each child’s growth is so important, I’ve also included a letter home to parents that can be sent when you send these journals home at the end of the year! I’ve included a letter for Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, and a generic letter with no grade level mentioned. What a great way to celebrate with parents and for parents to also be able to see a snapshot of their child’s growth from start to end!
To give options, I’ve also included 3 covers to choose from and a Writing Conference Growth and Goals sheet:
Altogether, this packet includes:
*Instructions on how to use and make the journals
*Writing Prompt Cards for every month (each month comes with 3 suggested writing prompts and there is a blank page for you to make up your own)
*3 Covers to Choose From
*Journal Writing Pages (Name Page; Pages for all 12 months; First Day of School, Last Day of School, and Summer Pages; a Blank Writing page)
*Writing Growth and Goals Conferencing Sheet
*End of Year Letter Home to Parents (to send home with the journal)
As always, the first 2 people to leave me some comment love and their email address will get this for free! And this product will be on sale in my TPT store for the next 24 hours!
I can’t wait to begin using these!! How do you celebrate and document growth in your classroom?
I need to improve on my writing curriculum too! Would love a copy! Hope to be a lucky one!
Becca F says
Congrats Rachel! 🙂
Wow! I love your journal through the year idea. I'm always trying to add MORE ways to write with my firsties. I'd love a copy!
Becca F says
Congrats Angie! 🙂
Awww just missed it!
This looks great! Wonderful idea!
FirstGrade Circus says
What a great resource for measuring student growth in writing!!!
Too cute! Worth purchasing!