Fine Motor, Small Group Activity, Writing

Fine Motor Journals

Many moons ago when I first started teaching in the early 2000’s I had writing journals in my classroom for students to practice their pre-writing skills.  When I went back to the classroom a few years back I wanted to implement journals again.  Then I found The Pocket of Preschool Fine Motor Journal resource created by Jackie Kops and it is AMAZING!

This year will be my third school year teaching with the Fine Motor Journal resource from Pocket of Preschool and I LOVE it so much!  This post is equal parts a review of the product and me just gushing over it because I am obsessed with these journals.  I highly recommend early childhood educators check out the Pocket of Preschool website, it is a treasure trove of amazing ideas and resources for teachers.

Just writing this blog post is making me excited for the coming school year and implementing the fine motor journals with my new class!   In January 2022 the Fine Motor Journal resource was updated with a ton more ideas to use.  So if you purchase the Fine Motor Journals and she makes updates you get them for FREE.  I cannot wait to dig into the new ideas in the coming year.

**A few notes – I call them Writing Journals in my class because that is what I called them for years before discovering this product.  I use the Pocket of Preschool Portfolio and Assessments resource to create the cover pages for the journals. I always buy the notebooks when they go on sale during the summer – I got them for a quarter last week at Kroger!  I make a laminated pocket in the front of the notebook to organize each student’s materials like name samples and alphabet cards (provided in the book).

Fine Motor Journals

Fine motor skills like pre-writing, cutting and gluing are key skills to work on in the preschool classroom.  The Fine Motor Journal guidebook from Pocket of Preschool not only gives teachers an endless supply of ideas for fine motor practice with kids, but it also gives guidance on teaching the skills and involving families.

What I Love About Fine Motor Journals:

  • The Journals are great for all ages and stages of development.  I have a very diverse group of learners, from 3 to 5 years old.  Some of the younger students may just be working on simple lines and holding writing utensils, while my older students getting ready for Kindergarten may be trying their hand at writing letters and words.  While I may be teaching the skills the students are acting as peer models and coaches by cheering each other on and sharing their work.  The Fine Motor Journal teacher guide really walks you through the whole process and describes the developmental levels of writing.

  • The kids are SO PROUD of their work.  I have even had students ask that I take a picture of them with their journal to send to their parents via Class Dojo.  They also enjoy sharing their work with other teachers and staff who may be visiting the classroom.

  • I usually teach the skill we are going to work on in the journals during large group time and then work with the students on their journals during small group.  For the older students going on to Kindergarten the journals are something that is part of their routine and I encourage them to keep practicing and finish the activity because I think it is a good way to practice getting ready for Kindergarten.

  • I love the creativity and ownership the students have with their journals.  Not only are the journals a part of the routine during small group with a planned activity, but students can choose to work in their journal any time during free choice work.  I encourage them to write or draw whatever they would like.  I have had several students that really take off with writing practice on their own outside of small group time with great pride in their notebook.

  • The Journals act as a portfolio tool – the kids and parents can see growth through the year.  Each month when the students wrote their name sample.  When they finished I would show them the sample compared to the first one of the year.  I would point out how hard they had worked and how much they had improved.

Click here to find the Fine Motor Journal guidebook and find out why they are so important for fine motor development:  Fine Motor Journals

This resource is so reasonably priced and the Pocket of Preschool Teachers Pay Teachers shop offers sales throughout the year.  I highly recommend following the Pocket of Preschool Facebook Page and Pocket of Preschool Curriculum Group on Facebook.  Jackie Kops has so many amazing resources in her shop.  I have several other pieces of her curriculum in my classroom and I really cannot say enough good things about the materials she has created.  They are easy to print and laminate and utilize in the classroom.  I’m especially fond of her Science curriculum materials because this is an area of the classroom that I feel I need to improve.

Share your ideas for teaching fine motor and writing skills in the comments below!

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