Almost September! And if you're not thinking Back-to-School yet, you should be! Seriously! Thinking! I've been thinking about what my must-haves would be for September if I were going back to a classroom. Of course, I will be going back to four classrooms in a few weeks, as a volunteer retired teacher, but I've still got plenty of ideas of what I would need for own 3rd, 4th, or 5th graders if I were going back to my own room. I miss teaching and having my own classroom and my own kids to get to know for a year and to keep in my heart forever, but I sure don't miss that other stuff. You know. I'm sure that I don't have to list it all here and make us both sad and angry. You know. We know.
Anyway, September! My favorite month of the school year! I always loved the excitement and promise of my freshly prepped and decorated classroom, the sharpened pencils, the interactive notebooks waiting to be filled, the unwritten journals waiting to be read, and the thousands of questions to ponder with my class, and our version of the answers to send far into the future where some of the things we thought and did together will live on in my students.
Janie Lynn Panagopoulos, an awesome writer of time-travel historical fiction, visited our school a couple of times, and one thing she told us has really stuck. One hundred years from now, very few people will know that you ever existed. Oh, a few members of your family might find your name on a family tree during a genealogy search, or you might be part of a family story handed down orally for a few more years, but really, few will know anything about you. But if you keep a journal and record your activities, thoughts, emotions, day to day feelings and interactions, you are leaving those memories as a legacy for future generations.
Journaling is to me the most important life skill you can kickstart in September. Get those kids journaling. Do whatever it takes. Many of them won't like it at first. It takes seven weeks to turn a practice into a habit. By the time the leaves start to change colors here in Michigan, I found each year that I had most of my little journalers hooked on a lifelong habit. I love it when my former students return many years later, old journals and current journals in hand. I wish I could adequately describe the rush of teacher happiness it never fails to bring!
Journaling! Start on Day 1! Make it fun and make it attractive to the reluctant writers. Put out lots of decorating tools and stickers for their pages. Let them draw more than write a first. A picture tells a thousand words, right? Try a whole class journal and try writing together. To help you get started, I am joining up with Teacher Deals and Dollar Steals to offer my year-long journal prompt resource (which comes with 10 journal pages, 20 prompts per page, and 2 poster sets!) at a 25% discount in my TpT store. I will also offer my gratitude journal resource for $1.00 (usually priced at $3.00). Grab yours now! This offer will last from August 15 through September 15!