Monday, September 7, 2009


My eighth graders keep what I call a Quote Journal.
I set a timer for 10 minutes at the beginning of every class period during which they copy the quote of the day from the board and write a two-paragraph response...
Their first paragraph should tell what they think the quote means. The second paragraph should give an example of how the quote applies to their lives.
When the timer "dings", we discuss the quote as a class during which time they may add to their responses as they see fit in order to get the required 75 words.

Last year I decided to change it up a little by giving them an Unjournaling once or twice a week. The students loved it!
They were having fun AND developing creative writing skills along with increasing their vocabulary.

Great book!

Includes entries such as ........
Write a story about a girl named Dot,
but you may use NO letters with dots over them...i.e. no Ii's or Jj's.
This is harder than you might think and forced them to think "outside the box" as they tried to think of other words that meant the same but had no I or j in it. For example, the word said. They had to use retorted or yelled, etc, etc.
They were using the thesaurus and the dictionary to find words:)
My students are a pretty competitive bunch, so each one was trying to have the best story with the best words:)
On another day we did this one:
Write a good sentence consisting entirely of three-syllable words.
(You may use the articles a, an, the.)
and this one:
Write a paragraph that twenty words with double vowels.
Examples: poodle, peep, needle

and this one:
Write a good sentence in which every word begins with a letter from the word "sentence" in the same order as the letters in "sentence"....
Example: the first word in your sentence would begin with "s", the second word would begin with "e", the third with "n", etc.
Isn't this fun?!
And then sometimes on Mondays, we just have plain old "FREE WRITING":)
Write freely now to your heart's desire
the number of words that I require:)

Have a Lovely Day!

P.S. Pictured below is their Homework Board:


  1. I still have mine. It didn't make it on this trip across the atlantic, but it is stored away in a file cabinet for me to read every time I go home for a holiday. Best idea ever!!!

  2. Dear Duchess, You have just made my day!
    I'll have to tell my students tomorrow that one of my old students is now a "Duchess" in London...and that she STILL has her old quote journal:)
    I still have the notebook of quotes I kept with y'all with meanings from different years of students that "struck" me when they read them aloud during our discussion times. The students are a little in awe (as am I....surely I haven't been doing this THAT long?!....Anyway, they are a little in awe when I read a meaning that came from a journal in 1998:)

  3. What fun. Thanks for sharing some of the neat things you do in class. I think I will start this w/ Strike - Today! I love quotes that really get your wheels turning (make you think!)...what a great way to start the day. - And I'd love to have the record of what she was the future for her/I to share then too! We are reading Rifles for Waitie together as well. :)

  4. I love those topics! what are great exercise-- unjournaling. What a cute name!

  5. Oh, Yay! I do think you will both enjoy it!

    We just finished The Giver by Lois Lowry...much food for thought there. Now we are reading Hangman's Curse by Frank Peretti.
    (Next 9 weeks we will read Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, a true story of their family life (early 1900's). After reading it we will watch the ORIGINAL movie...NOT the Steve Martin version.

  6. I love your ideas! Keep them coming in. You're such a great teacher; you make your students think and express their thoughts - both essential for the learning process.

  7. You know, you could have very well kick-started this entire "moving around the world to write" thing that I caught a few years back.

  8. get this- i have THREE quote journals saved!!!

  9. I'm not sure all of my old students appreciated those delightful journals the way you and the Duchess did, Clare.....Too bad, though, because isn't it fun to see how you thought all of those years ago?

    Ahhh, Duchess, Hmmm...I think I like your word...kick-started:) I seem to remember, however, your averseness (is that a word?) to the mechanics of writing...i.e. punctuation? I believe you told me that you would PAY people to do that for you....Am I remembering correctly?

  10. You know, I still pay people to do the grammatical parts for me. In fact, it could be a rather large motivating factor in the beginnings of Jargon Media LLC. That way, I have a plethora of specialty editors and proofreaders at my disposal, because my grammar is still atrocious and I like to flip verb tenses back and forth both in poetry and prose. Court even put me in her phone under the title: Comma Pimp.

    Please tell me that you still play the Carpenters for students? and Jim Croce? That also made my days back then and I do have them on my Ipod for nostalgia's sake.

  11. yes, i still play the Carpenters and sometimes Jim Croce for tests that require much writing...We also still have "thinking candy" (DumDum lollipops)during tests. They also get HWP's (HomeWorkPass) if they ace the test (make 100). Did i do that with y'all?

  12. yes, yes you did! ah, the good old days!