Beginning our class journal
As we expected some (but not all) students have sped through their first book and are on their second and third books. We didn’t really want to give the students too much information surrounding writing, the craft of writing and what authors do until the students were finished or almost finished their first books. We really want their first books to be raw data samples of what they already know.
We decided we would organise our books in the same way our readers are in our school; by colour. We did this last year and it was quite successful. We gave everyone a pink book first. The students will then move on to red, yellow, blue, green, orange, purple, grey (silver) and gold. For those students who make it all the way through they will just start again at pink. We thought by organising the books this way it gives us a good idea at a quick glance of where the students are up to.
The first mini lesson we taught last week was surrounding front covers and the things that front covers need. We explored different front covers of books and brainstormed what we noticed. This brainstorm then formed the first entry in our class journal.
The other glaringly obvious teaching point for our mini lessons last week was book orientation. We noticed many of our students are writing and illustrating in their books from back to front and many are writing in their books upside down. During this mini lesson I asked the students to show me which way my book should open. (I had my own pink book that someone put around the right way for me.) I then asked the students to remind me what should go on the front cover of my book. They said all the obvious, title, picture, author and illustrator’s name, library letter and publisher’s sticker/ emblem. As the kids were calling out the different features I was quickly adding them on to my pink book. This book was then glued into our class journal for us to refer back to.
I am hoping we will use this class journal to refer back to each mini lesson to help reinforce these messages and add new ideas and learnings surrounding the work of authors and the needs of our students as writers. I will also continue to create this pink book to help with my mini lessons in the coming weeks.