Folders vs. Journals
Should you provide the students with journals or writing folders that contain loose paper? After kindergarten, I am a strong proponent of folders. That’s not to say that I don’t use any journals: I love dialogue journals, response to literature journals and learning logs. However, during writing time, I prefer students to be working with loose paper. Here’s why:
- The length of a piece of writing should not be dictated by the duration of a writing period or by filling one journal page. Too often I hear kids say, “I’m done” when they’ve reached the bottom of a journal page.
- Good revision techniques include cutting and taping, crossing out, and making substantial additions – all difficult to do when working with a journal.
- Journals are too often perceived as “books.” We tend not to ask students to make major changes to work they’ve recorded in book form.
Many teachers laminate resources: alphabet charts, frequently used word lists, and possible writing topics on the outside of their folders.