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November 2, 2012

My Students' Thankful Journals

Yesterday over at The Idea Backpack, April was mentioning a Gratitude Journal and asking for information how we set up ours.  It was a good reminder that today I need to have the students get theirs ready for the next 2 weeks before Thanksgiving vacation.  I figured I should share on here too.  :) 

(Side note - I know we just celebrated Halloween, I know we just had an exceptionally busy October with all the "extras" on top of the normal curriculum, but I'm still wondering how in the world it became November already?!?!) 

Over the years I have done many different things, but I have found that with my classes (either in 2nd or 4th grade) the students tend to think more carefully when I give them the specific areas to sort their lists into.

My students create their own journals.  One year I went to Big Lots and found those tiny flip books for super cheap and they wrote their lists as clues... then my school budget disappeared and I found it easier if students created their own.  They love making their own booklets and the chance to decorate the cover.

I tend to keep the same color for all the mini books that my class creates - it helps me to figure out that all students have out the same booklet at the right time with a quick glance around the room.  For example, this past week with our Red Ribbon booklets it was easy to check their desktops to see who followed directions.

They take 2 pieces of copy paper and 1 piece of the colored construction paper and fold them in half.  Then they use one staple again to hold it together.  I know, I know... I keep mentioning the one staple, but if they have the option to do more than one staple they tend to put it too far down at the crease of the page and I ruin the booklet trying to fix their mistake.  I used to staple them all myself when I had the time, but I don't even have that these days.  So it's one staple, and if it falls apart then I help them.

After they create their booklet, they glue the 1/2 page cover on top and have a chance to start decorating it as the rest of the class is still figuring out how to fold and staple it.

When we are ALL ready to move on, I turn on the ladibug (projection camera - don't you LOVE them?!?) and we set it up altogether.

Here's how I break it down.  They do have to write on the back of the
 little pages - so top and bottom/back and front for each page.

 Page 1: My family (who and why)

Page 2: My friends (who and why)

Page 3: My school (what specifically and why)

Page 4: My house (what and why)

Page 5: My town (what and why)

Page 6: My country (what and why)

Page 7: My world (what and why)

After it's set up they keep it on their desks for those couple of minutes each day that they finish early, or between transitions, etc.  I don't have a lot of specific writing time in them, but they are an important part of our November activities.  Over the 2 weeks the student lists grow significantly.

  The days before Thanksgiving vacation start the kids sharing their lists with each other and full class.  They use their lists as we create a whole class paper chain around the classroom with things we are thankful for.  They use their lists when we make our Thankful trees.  They use them quite a bit.  

I Love Thanksgiving!


  1. What a great way to record what students are thankful/grateful for! I'm hosting a linky right now about the things we are thankful for in our own lives. I would love it if you'd stop by :)
    Stories by Storie

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