You Can Save Time with Journal Responses | Mentoring in the Middle

You Can Save Time with Journal Responses

You know the book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?  I recently had my blog and logo redone.  When someone designs a new look for you, you have to go in and update your logo.  And when you update your logo, you'll realize you need to update all your covers.  And while you're updating your covers, you might as well make new Pins.  Oh, and when you take a look at your products, some of them need to be updated, too.

As I was looking over a journal writing product that I have used for a number of years, I made a few changes to it to add a little more rigor.  And to remove the *ugly* colors (what was I thinking?!)

I am NOT a fan of reading logs or charts, because
  • They stress kids out 
  • Kids often lie
  • Parents often don't monitor
  • Teachers often punish when they're not completed
  • They take away the pleasure in reading
Why do I like these cards?
  • Kids can choose which question to respond to
  • They require a brief response with text evidence
  • You'll know in a heartbeat if the student is reading
  • They allow for written conversations between student and teacher
You can print these out on card stock, cut and laminate them, and use them for discussion groups or literature circles.  Or, use the sheets that have 20 of these questions on them and have students glue or tape them into their journals. If you want to limit the questions, cut them into strips to give 4 or 5 choices.

DO NOT collect everyone's responses every week.  You'll make yourself crazy trying to respond to everyone.  

Ask students to respond to one prompt per week and then collect 5-10 journals that day.  The following day, collect a few more.  Figure out how many you need to read in order to respond at least once every two weeks (I would aim for once a week, but that's hard to do if you have over 100 students.)

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