Starting the Year Off with Writing

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Aug. 13, 2019, 9:15 a.m.

To get students excited about writing (or anything) we need to begin by tapping into their interests. One way to do this is by having students start the year off with expert journals. Expert journals are small books of paper that students use to record their questions, findings, and information about a topic of their choice. Think of this as an introduction to research!

Students will start by making "no cut" books as their first writing journal. Then students will choose a topic that they want to know more about. Students will then gather books and articles about their topic of choice. They can also watch videos or listen to books about their topic. Before reading, students will write questions they have about their topic. This can be the first page of their journal. They can also "drite" (draw + write) in their journals. As students read (this can be reading the pictures and text features), they will write about what they are learning.

Expert Journals can also become a literacy center later in the semester once students have had some guided practice. This is definitely a student favorite!

Watch out YouTube Video on how to make a "no glue" book!

Below is an example of an expert journal on tigers made by a kindergartener. He wanted to read and write about tigers for his first expert journal of the year.

Kelly Harmon and Randi Anderson

About The Authors

Kelly Harmon & Associates began in 2001 with a mission of instructional coaching and providing rich literacy resources for educators and parents. Our work incorporates research-based best practices for teaching and learning.

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