Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Our First Visitor From School

Last Friday when I picked up Little Man from school, his teacher informed me with a smile that there was a surprise waiting for me in our little scholar's backpack.  As we walked to the car he chattered about his friend  - one whom I had never met - but, nonetheless, one he insisted would be joining us on our weekend trip to visit family out of town.  Once in the car I started to explain that we would try a short visit at home with his friend first.  Instantly giggles erupted and out from the backpack came our weekend guest - Homer.  This fuzzy teddy bear was going to be Little Man's traveling companion, and once home, we would write about our weekend in a journal that he was also given.

Much like the Flat Stanley that I remember, little Homer will be the visitor of many families in Kindergarten, and our weekend was just the start of his adventures.  Here is how our weekend began:

Homer joins us in the car - bright and early.

"Oh, yeah...ready to roll!" 

Fast-forward 20 minutes..."Are we there yet?!"

Finally, 3 1/2 hours later...

"Yes!  Our exit!"

Once at my sister's, Homer was a welcomed participant in the making of good memories.  With a full, fun weekend had by all, I was curious to see how willing Little Man would be to work together on the journal entry that needed to be done.  By the time we arrived home late Sunday afternoon, we were all tired and maybe even a little punchy, so I was prepared to hold off until morning on reminding him about the task at hand.  To my surprise, as soon as we were unpacked, he was at the table ready to work!  He was excited about sharing his stories and his first experience with a real homework assignment was something that he really felt good about.

Building on this idea, and wanting to encourage his desire to draw and write about his thoughts and experiences, I had another "homework" assignment for my writer when he came home from school the next day.  I showed him a journal that I picked up just for him and asked if he would like to draw or write about just one thing that "made him happy today."  He was so excited because he knew right away what he wanted to write about - it was Library Day.  Below is his very first journal entry:

At this point, of course, we talked about his picture and what he chose to write in the space at the top of the page.  He then told me what he wanted to say under the picture.  When we were done, he read it to me - to make sure I had it right. :)

This 10 minute activity was something he and I both enjoyed, as he was proud of the page he created, and we were both able to see a snapshot of something positive from his day. Win - win! Thanks to Homer, and the wonderful student teacher in Little Man's class who introduced us, we now have a new part of our after school routine that will make us both happy every day.

Any other ways that you provide authentic writing practice for your little ones at home?  It would be great to see some more fun ideas shared in the comments below.



  1. Sofia had a journal in Kindergarten too. At the beginning of the year it was a fill in question ( For breakfast I had___). Later the questions were broader (What is your favorite sport). She loved it! It's still one of her favorite books to look at and she's always updating it. She has also become our official birthday/ post card writer.

    1. Love it! So fantastic that it's become a keepsake for her; I'm hoping this will be something that grows with our little guy as well.

  2. How fun to have an authetic reason to write that makes you both happy. My class had a bear that visited families, too, Bear Mountain, which helped students see how each other wrote and helped in writing workshop. Thanks so much, Carolyn

    1. Thank you, Carolyn. My son's favorite part was, in fact, sharing his weekend adventures with his class - he was so excited! Very sweet.

  3. Great idea. My boys have journals. Of course, the 2 1/2 year old just scribbles in his but my older son has started "writing" stories much like you did. He loves it. Every day we re-read several of our past journal entries. He's 4 so I do all of the writing but he almost always rereads his story with 100% accuracy. It's amazing because he wouldn't be able to read that in an ordinary book (I don't think).


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