My Guaranteed Strategy for Building Relationships with Students

Weekend Journals are a wonderful tool for allowing students to share everything they’d probably rather tell you as soon as they walk in the door on Monday morning but you don’t have time to listen to. #sadtruth  I love these as a tool for building relationships with my students and getting to know their interests and lives outside of school.

Ain’t that the truth?

3 Things I love about Weekend Journals:

1) Focuses their energy on story-telling through writing about a topic they LOVE to tell about {well, unless they were sick all weekend}

2) I learn SO much about their life outside of school ALL YEAR LONG

3) Morning work on Mondays is consistent and predictable. It needs no directions/explanation once it is properly launched

The concept is simple: A journal for students to write in on Monday as morning work. 
The pages in our journals look like this:

I know some teachers may send it home Friday and get parents involved with responding back or whatnot.  I have learned very quickly that many things you send home expecting to get back, you risk never seeing again.  At least that is how it is for me.  If the Friday thing works for you, I’d love to hear about it!

I made sure to add detailed instructions with expectations and a checklist on the back.

 I have these copied 2-sided and stapled into a packet for about 15 weeks worth.

Sharing the Journals

On a good day, I read EVERY.SINGLE.ONE.  Or actually, they read them to me!  On a great day, this takes about 15 minutes.  On an off day, closer to 30. Sometimes I have them share with a partner.  Or I pick a few to read to the whole group. It really just depends. I do LOVE hearing all about what they did over the weekend and it really provides insight into their world outside of school.

These look a little different because I’ve updated this free resource since taking these photos 🙂

I try not to mark them up TOO much.  But I do expect them to spell word wall and spelling pattern words correctly. We use these free strategy posters to figure out how to spell a word independently.

If you are interested in my weekend journal template, you can find it  FOR FREE in my TPT store right here  Weekend Journal Template

What is your favorite tool for getting to know your students? Do you use a journal? If you are looking for some writing ideas, check out my first 3 writing lessons of the school year and grab these *FREE* Printable + Digital Writing Prompts!

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