Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Another NEW Instructional Strategy: Response Journals

After reading the many ROL’s by other colleagues on writing in kindergarten, I’ve realized that I need to do more in my classroom to guide student writing and provide an abundant of opportunities for them to explore writing.  I chose to use the response journal because it gets the students writing and while still being teacher guided it is very open-ended. 

Marzona stated that effective instructional strategies engage students in analyzing what is important and summarizing the important facts.  Response journals allow students to think critically to the material and prioritize what is necessary to write about.  It is also an effective technique because it allows students to write about their ideas, personal stories or feelings towards the text.  Students are constantly making connections and wanting to share aloud when it is story time.  This was a useful tool for behavior management for me because it gave all the kids a voice but didn’t take away from the direct teaching time. 
Throughout the week I read a variety of non-fiction text and one fictional text about ladybugs.  As stated earlier, the response journals can be left open ended or you can provide prompts.  It was apparent from the research in the ROL’s that a strong motivator for writing is choice. Therefore based on the ideas of best practice and my students’ capabilities, I offered them choices as to how to respond.  They could either share a response as to how the text made them feel using a writing prompt or they could respond with a connection to the text with a personal story using no prompt.  In both responses I encouraged and modeled to students how to use information from the text in my writing.  We discussed how there is no right or wrong answer in a response journal.

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