Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Enjoying Things Now

This was the journal prompt: What are some things you enjoy doing now but may no longer enjoy in two years?

All responses are from females:
*I love being a kid because you can play with dolls and in two years from now I'll be twelve and you can't play with dolls when you're twelve.
*I will not like watching TV. I will play and hang out with friends and family outside. I will explore things like plants and mountains and caves.
...wonder where she got the idea about caves...
*School. I like it now, but if it gets any harder then I'm not going to like it very much!
*Nothing. I will always love monster high dolls. I will also always love bike rides. I love skate boards and motorcycles and I always will. I will always love Justin Bieber, dancing, and singing. I will always love Katy Perry, Adele, and drawing. I will always love what I do now.

And here's something else from a journal entry about Valentine's Day. The girl wrote that her dad gave her mom a Valentine card with a picture of a squirrel on it. The message read, "Alas, My Love, I am a nut! For your very cute butt!" I'm pretty sure the parents would die if they knew their fifth grader recorded this in her journal.

And to top the day off, I learned something at bus duty this afternoon from yet another one of my girls. The conversation went something like this while she waited for her car pool:

"Mrs. Kyburz, the substitute let us have a Talent Show when you were gone the other day!"

"Really?" (That's all I said on the outside, but if you had been there, you would have seen my eyebrows arch up to the heavens with surprise because A) we have never had any chats about a Talent Show and B) I wrote actual lesson plans which I assumed the sub would follow...but, oh well and C) I could only imagine what all might have gone on during this impromptu performance session).

"Yeah, I sang a solo in front of the class!"

"Wow! A solo? Which song did you sing?"

"Jesus Take the Wheel."

Are you getting this mental image? Teacher is gone, student sings Jesus Take the Wheel a capella, substitute is pleased as punch...I've been laughing all night! "I'm a nut" rhymes with "cute butt." Motorcycles, Justin Bieber, and dancing...

To borrow a phrase, "I will always love what I do now."


  1. How long do you do journal writing?

  2. Every first day back after a weekend or break we do what's called "The Weekend News." They just do it while I'm checking planners and if they don't get it done, it's homework that night. On other days, we do journal prompts, but not every day. Sometimes the prompt is "Free Write" so they just write whatever. Other days I give them a prompt, often from "The Kids' Book of Questions" or I sometimes make up my own. We do not write in notebooks. I think handling paper is so much easier than handling 34 bulky notebooks and spending time flipping to the correct page. Each Weekend News paper and each journal paper is a piece of copy machine paper onto which I've copied the typed format (I can email the documents to you--with Weekend News they have to draw a picture). They have to copy their own prompts onto the journal page so they can remember in 20 years what they were writing about. All of these papers are 3-hole punched and when I've read them (I DO read them all, but I don't record every one in the gradebook) all, I pass them back and they file them in chronological order in their binders. I tell the kids that they'll get to take their fifth grade journal home on the last day of school, but it's a lie. I ask for "potluck wrapping paper" from the parents in May and the Friday before Mother's Day I announce to the class that we are wrapping their journals to give to their mothers for Mother's Day. The kids are shocked and some are worried about things they may have written, but TOO LATE! There IS no other gift, so like little ducks in a row, they all wrap and then "beautify" their presents with ribbons and extras. The wrapping part is an absolute crack-up to watch (my fave). The parents LOVE the journals--some laugh, some cry. I've had teenagers come back to me years later thanking me for having them keep a fifth grade journal. I tell the kids that the journal really does still belong to them, but that their mom is going to keep track of it for the next 10 or 20 years so that it doesn't get shoved under the bed and ruined when the basement floods. Also, I don't really require them to write for any length of time or to fill up a certain number of lines. Some kids write more and use the back side of the paper. If someone is totally skimping frequently, then I may encourage them to write a little more. I also don't make comments on their papers, but I do stamp them before handing them back. It's low key enough that the kids seem to enjoy it. They have no idea about the treasure they are making for themselves! Also, when we do Author's Chair, rather than reading an original story or poem, some kids just grab their journals and read aloud one of their favorite responses to a journal prompt. We also insert phtographs in our journals: cave, Clear Creek, Valentine Boxes, etc. How's that for an answer?

  3. I never liked having a sub...my first experience was my first year teaching, i was gone for 2 weeks volunteering for the Olympics. Since I taught U.S. and Utah history, I left an Olympics lesson plan....which the sub promptly disregarded and spent the time reading the newspaper to the kids. Do the majority of subs even teach the lessons the teacher left? There's a reason the "in demand" subs are always taken when you want one ;)