Creating a Thought Journal

One of the first mini-lessons I teach in Writer's Workshop is creating and using a Thought Journal.  Some might call it a Writer's Notebook, Journal or Reflection Notebook.  In my classroom the Thought Journal is a place where students can play with writing. They use the Thought Journal to try out new techniques in Writer's Workshop, keep lists of ideas to write about and reflect on their reading. 

This book by Ralph Fletcher is a wonderful companion for older students (4th - 8th) about how to use their Writer's Notebook. 

Younger students need more hands-on instruction with lots of modeling to use their Thought Journal. 

I teach the first lesson during the first few days of school. I show the students my own Thought Journal and spend a great deal of time telling them about the different parts and what all the pictures mean to me. 

That evening I send them home with an assignment to start collecting pictures.  I also post my samples on my class blog so parents know where we are headed. 

The next day I demonstrate Wordle for the kids and we make Wordle clouds for any topic we are learning that day.  I show them my the Wordle cloud on my Thought Journal and get them excited about creating their own.  I send home a blank composition book and directions for Wordle and give the kids a long weekend to complete their Thought Journal at home.  I wish I had taken pictures!  One was cuter than the next!  Stay tuned for directions on how to use Wordle!


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