Each child in our class has a journal. We usually introduce them the second week of preschool. Mine are very simple – cheap (10-20 cent) binder/folders with brads inside to hold blank paper. We label them with the child’s name and picture. (Gotta love that digital camera!) We start off with about 5 blank sheets of paper, and add paper as the year goes on. Last year I started keeping my classroom observations in the back of each folder. I told the children, “The white papers are for you, but the colorful papers are for me to write down when I see you do something great!” (They love that.)
The good part of limiting the number of papers is that it prevents it from geting filled up right away. (Last year I had them help assemble the journals, and in the first day, all the papers had drawings. We went through a bunch of paper.) We keep a date stamper handy, and after they have dictated their story, they stamp the date. (Another thing they love!)
During the day, I jot down notes on a piece of paper (I’ll talk about observations in a seperate post.) During naptime, once they are all finally sleeping, I transfer notes into their journals.