1. Eight seconds of think-time to decide on a topic. My favorite is when children come in first thing in the morning and tell me what they want to write about that day. This week, a sweetie-pie said, "I've known my topic all day! Hotel Transylvania! It's a movie..." and went on from there.
2. Tell someone sitting close about your topic. Make sure you have at least 3 details to describe.
3. Write four sentences. The number of sentences increases through the year. It's determined by the unit we're in for Reading, right now- unit 4. This takes about 10 minutes.
4. Illustrate for about 5 minutes.
5. Color the picture.
Usually, three children are chosen to share. They display their journal on the Smartboard using the document camera and read for us. We encourage and critique, usually correcting the big two first-grade editing issues: uppercases and periods.
Thursday, I shared Pandora Gray's quote from Day 3's Slice of Life:
There are a lot of writers, but only one you.
Then, I mixed up the journals and read each one. They had to guess who's who. By this time of year, it was pretty easy. Three girls love their dogs, two boys love basketball (UK and Upward) and two friends almost always describe video games. (I made a big decision last month- We all love our moms and dads, but we're not writing about them anymore.)
The best part? They wanted to guess again yesterday.