Incorporate flaps using folded pieces of paper, recipe cards, etc.
Flaps make an excellent place to write.
THE WRITING RULE
In my room, every page has to have somewhere to write. The goal of the junk journal for us is writing, so every page must have a space for this. It can be a library card, flap or stamped lines but the writing place must be there.
Photos on Transparencies
Have students bring photos from home and copy them onto overhead transparencies. Be sure to lighten the copier image before copying so that the images copy clearly. Punch holes in the transparence for a journal page, glue it to a page or use it as a pocket.
Folded Envelopes and origami
Teach students several ways to fold envelopes to be glued into their journal. There are many, many envelope and shape instructions online. Here are a few:
Other origami shapes can be folded to add character to a page. For example, fold cranes for a Remembrance Day page or rabbits for Easter.
A great way to add color to a journal is by using washi tape. Washi tape is a decorative paper tape whose origins are Japanese. It is typically made from natural fibers such as hemp, bamboo or the bark of trees. It costs $5-8 per roll but you can make your own washi tape by using double sided tape and tissue paper.
How to make washi tape link:
We found double sided tape at the dollar store which makes it reasonably priced for the classroom. The packaging looks like this:
We start junk journals after Christmas but they could be made in September and used as a writing tool for the whole year.
Before starting to make journals, introduce your students to the world of journaling. So many people (including children) think that journaling is documenting what happens each day.
We bring in guests who do an assortment of journaling. Find people in your community that journal and have them bring in their journals to share with your students. We bring in traditional journalers, book makers, altered book makers, art journalers, etc. Of course we share our own journals as well. You don’t have to read to them from your journals, just share about your process and show them what the journal looks like.
By bringing in and showing students an assortment of journals, students begin to think about what type of journaling they might like to do. It also exposes them to the world of bookmaking. We have seen students who struggle with writing become inspired by the artistic side of journaling and become very engaged in journaling discussions.
Parent Letter Home:
We send a note home to parents a week before our first junk journaling day explaining the journals, the curriculum the journals cover and suggest a list of materials for students to bring. Students are asked to bring all of their materials in a plastic bag tied closed, large ziploced or a shoe box. The bag cannot be bigger than a grocery bag. One year a student brought a garbage bag full of items!
Bags are kept at the school for the first three weeks of junk journaling. After that everything is sent home as they take up too much room.
We take a whole day for this at the grade 3-5 level. We find that students are very engaged and it makes such a mess that it is best to get the very messy stuff out of the way in one day.
Management: We have activities ready for students who are not engaged in the journal making process. We let the class know at the beginning of the day that if they are fooling around or wasting time that we have activities to work on in the hallway (away from the mess). We explain that it is not a punishment but that perhaps there are those who do not want to spend the whole day junk journaling. We have never had to use these activities, but we are always ready.
For students who are working too slowly or are visiting more than we think they should be, we use an accountability system. We will have them show us what they have done, admire their work and then show them the clock. We give them a set amount of time and then tell them we want to see another awesome page in that time period. Often they exceed the expectation!
Sometimes these students are stuck. If we ask them if they need help with something, we can often get them going again. Sometimes students will say the cutting line is too long or they want to have something sewn. For students who really struggle with time management, we tell them to come right to the front of the line when they have something to be sewn or cut. No one seems to mind and it keeps the social student moving along at a better pace.
Room set up:We set the classroom up in stations. The stations we use are:
- a table with stamp pads and stamps
- a table with the paper cutters and the Cuddle Bug
- a place on the rug for all the discarded books
- a place for sharing material the teacher has gathered
- the teacher’s desk where the sewing machine is set up
- a space for things students bring to share
Students are encouraged to leave materials and tools in each station and just take or use what they need.
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