Alphabet Journals...4 Steps for Journal Writing

First grade teachers work hard every year to send independent readers and writers to second grade.  But every first grade teacher forgets what September means in first grade...it means they are still kindergartners.  The re-post can be a good idea for journals at the beginning of first grade.

What can I write about?

UGH!  This is one way to curb the "I don't know what to write about blues."  These alphabet journals combine decoding, illustrating and writing in a way that can be completely individualized.
Writing can be challenging at the beginning of first grade. These journals can help students decode, create, and illustrate.
I have always suggested teachers use the sound chart as a topic chart for writing, but whe I sat down to make a journal for that, I decided I could make the journal decodable.

4 Easy Steps

Writing can be challenging at the beginning of first grade. These journals can help students decode, create, and illustrate.

1.  Decode.

Each page has a decodable picture.  MOST pages are cvc words (dig for d, log for l, pan for p).  The highlighted initial letter keeps the journal is alphabetical order.  Of course, the vowels were tricky.  I have 2 options for each of the vowels.  Option #1 has a cvc word with the vowel highlighted in the middle.  Option #2 is a two-letter or three-letter word starting with the vowel (ant for a and up for you).
Writing can be challenging at the beginning of first grade. These journals can help students decode, create, and illustrate.

2. Illustrate.

If you want a good story, give your students time to make a good illustration.  Each page includes a clip art picture for the decodable word.  Students will complete the picture.  The picture above shows a boy digging on a construction site.  Another student used the same picture to draw a garden scene and a third student drew a the boy digging with a pirate flag in the picture.
Writing can be challenging at the beginning of first grade. These journals can help students decode, create, and illustrate.

3.  Write.

Of course, this is the goal.  Students have to write about their picture.  The more detail in the picture, the more detail in the writing.  "The gum is in the gum shop. The gum is mine.  The gum is different colors. The gum comes out."
Writing can be challenging at the beginning of first grade. These journals can help students decode, create, and illustrate.

4. Repeat.

Students can use this journal to create a book of stories.  

If you'd like a FREEBIE sample of this set, feel free to click on the picture below or CLICK HERE
If you would like to visit my TPT store and check out Alphabet Journals, click the picture below or CLICK HERE.  There is also Set 2, 3, and 4.

Constitution Day Activities

Are you searching for meaningful activities for Constitution Day?  Would you like to be able to conduct your Constitution Day activities during multiple core subjects?  If you said yes, then this post is for you!






I always like to try to combine my social studies curriculum with my language arts, and Constitution Day is no exception. Combining my Constitution activities during both subjects means I'm not confined to a single subject or block of time.

First, I like to make an anchor chart as a class of freedoms at home and school.  I keep it up for reference during the Constitution Day activities.  More on that later!

After making the anchor chart, we read a book I LOVE, We the Kids, to teach the preamble!  It's great for read-aloud or you can assign parts of it to older students to explore.


We the Kids book to introduce the Preamble to the Constitution.


Flipped Classroom idea:  There's also plenty of videos on YouTube of people reading the book.  You could assign the video for homework the night/days before Constitution Day.  Then, students can come in and be ready to talk about it without a read-aloud.

After reading the book and/or watching the video, we revisit our anchor chart and put stars beside the freedoms that were also mentioned in the Preamble  

Next, I like to explore the vocabulary of the Preamble because it is so challenging robust.  I love the language used, but most students don't have any background knowledge of words like "posterity".  To do this, I use a graphic organizer.


The first version of the organizer provides support with pictures and synonyms for the meaning of the Preamble vocabulary.


Constitution Day activities.  Vocabulary graphic organizer for the Preamble to the Constitution.


The second organizer is a "challenge" for students who are ready to tackle synonyms and vocabulary independently.


Constitution Day activities.  Vocabulary graphic organizer for the Preamble to the Constitution.


If you'd like to pick up a copy, click here.


Do you have Constitution Day activities or materials that make the day fun?  I'd love to hear about them!


Constitution Day activities that can be done in Language Arts and Social Studies or Civics class.   Vocabulary graphic organizer for the Preamble to the Constitution.