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Personalized Writer’s Notebooks for Elementary Teachers

In my classroom, I started each school year by reading aloud Megan McDonald’s book Judy Moody. It’s a fun book for all grade levels, but is PERFECT for 3rd graders because the book starts off on Judy’s first day of 3rd grade – Hello text-to-self connection!

I created a whole bunch of activities that go with the book Judy Moody and used them throughout the first week of school in addition to teaching my procedures and routines and completing some back to school printable activities.

In the book, Judy needs to create an All About Me collage as her first assignment. I springboarded off of this and we made a collage on the Friday of the first week. Except instead of making it on poster board, we made them on the cover of black and white composition notebooks. Students brought in pictures, ticket stubs, articles, brochures, magazine clippings, etc. that tell about them. And then we Modge Podge the heck out of them to seal them. They look great and last all year long.

I always did this on the first Friday afternoon for a few reasons.

  • It’s fun… so it introduces “Fun Friday” (the time each week where I sneak in a little craftivity).
  • We work on brainstorming ideas for their writer’s Idea banks throughout the first week and this way we were ready to hit the ground running on the first full Monday.
  • All that Modge Podge stinks… so it’s nice to have a few days of “air time.”

Even if you don’t read Judy Moody to your class, I would encourage you to have the kids make personalized journals. They really help them to take ownership of their writing and they make such wonderful keepsakes at the end of the year. If you decide to move forward with this, I recommend sending your students home with a letter to request families send in the needed items.

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