Do you do a daily journal? This is one thing I started my first year teaching and I cannot let go of it. I really think in the long run, it helps my kiddos with their writing. Every year prior to this one, their journal was their morning work. This was great for my kids that arrived on time, but all of my stragglers were always behind.
This year, I decided to do the daily journal at the beginning of our Center Time (which is about an hour). It takes the students about 15 minutes to complete this, but this way when they are done, they can go straight into their literacy activities. My kids like their journals and work really hard in them!
How do I motivate them? I choose an Author of the Day daily. I pull three random journals each day at the end of our literacy block. These students read their journal and then I decide who wrote most like an author (included interesting detail, spoke clearly, answered the prompt, etc.) The student I choose for Author of the Day gets to display their work on the board and use my smelly pencils (nothing fancy and very manageable.
I do not correct their journals or even look at them on a daily basis. At the end of the month, I flip through them and look for the first grade standards. I write a quick note on what they do well and their goal for next month to improve their writing. The one great thing about the journal instead of daily work, is I copy it once a month and I don't have to send it home until the end of the month.
My February Journal is now available in my TPT store. It features primary lines, daily writing prompts and a place for illustrations.
Next Up: Center Time!