Opening Journal Warm-Up: Opening Journal Warm-Up

Opening Journal Warm-Up
Students In Action
Students In Action
Instructional Openings

Opening Journal Warm-Up

While I often use a Google Form survey or an opening conversation to start class and set the tone, there is also tremendous value in having students write their individual thoughts in their Writer's Notebooks. Ours is a mostly paperless classroom despite the fact that it is an English class, so these pen-to-paper moments are significant ones. Students understand that these journal entries are silent reflections meant to put them in the frame of mind needed for the day's lessons. 

Strategy Resources (2)
Student Work Sample
Students really get to express themselves via their notebooks. The notebook has a culture of its own.
Student Work Sample
Students really get to express themselves via their notebooks. The notebook has a culture of its own.
Johanna Paraiso
Fremont High School Oakland
Oakland, CA


About this strategy

Prep Time:
English / Language Arts
Twelfth grade
Similar Strategies
Instructional Openings
Just the Facts

Just the Facts asks one to two students to summarize quickly the reading that will be used in the day's discussion. We follow a simple protocol of "Who + What"--citing which characters from the text did what significant actions in order to move the plot forward. When the initial student is finished sharing key facts from the reading, another student might be asked to fill in any other details. If there are plot details that are incorrect, it is an opportunity for other students to correct the errors. These "police report" type of summaries can be audio or video recorded, quickly edited, and then posted on to the class website as a more engaging way for students to review significant plot points from our class texts. Although there is an ideal reading pace at which I want students to move, some will be ahead of the reading calendar and some will be behind. Also, many students are anxious or reluctant to share out loud when it comes to analysis of the reading. Given that the Just the Facts reports the text's plot and simply the facts, more students are enthusiastic about sharing because the strategy allows different students to be the experts in relaying facts.

Blended Learning Model Overviews
Johanna's Model Overview

I would describe my classroom as a mix of a flex and a face-to-face instructional model. During our block periods, my students transition frequently among different learning modalities, including online self-paced learning, collaborative small group learning, and whole class instruction. They use online tools to become stronger readers, to conduct research, to connect with communities beyond our classroom, and to engage civically through blogging, virtual discussions, and community-focused projects. Ideally through consistent student-to-student collaboration, my project-based classroom allows students to see the importance of social justice and how it is infused in the literature content they engage with on a regular basis. Co-teaching and authentic project-based learning are key elements of my model.

Number of Students: ~15-25 students

Number of Adults: one teacher; one student teacher

Length of Class Period/Learning Time: 92 minutes (M, T, Th, F); 35 minutes (W)

Digital Content/Ed Tech Tools Used on a Regular Basis: Google Drive; Google Apps for Education; Gooru Learning; Adobe Photoshop; Newsela; Piktochart Infographic Creator; iMovie; iPhoto; Audible; Quizlet; Jupiter Ed; Google Hangouts

Hardware Used on a Regular Basis: mobile cart with 34 Chromebooks (1:1)

Key Features: project-based; innovative use of time; student agency

Collaborative Student Groups
Socratic Seminar

Socratic Seminars are one method for discussing complex texts, and they are also useful forums where students can metacognate about their learning process and even share best practices. 

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