Like Jivey, I am already thinking about next year, but I have 36 more school days. I love the beginning of Writing Workshop, especially setting up our journals. First, I show them mine from past years. (Sorry, no pics. I am out sick today.)
Then, I invite them to bring in their own pictures and stickers. On decorating day, I put out magazines, extra scrapbook paper, and stickers from my stash.
When they are finished, I cover their journals with clear contact paper reinforced with 2 strips of packing tape, one on the spine, and the other one on the inside cover.
If you have never done this, I do have three suggestions.
1. Don't let them use foam or 3D stickers. They create huge bubbles under the clear contact paper.
2. Don't let them decorate the back, only the front. They fight me on this every year. Some try to decorate the inside cover. My rule is I will ONLY cover the front cover.
3. Make sure they write their name in the white box and decorate around it. (Learned this one the hard way.)
My purpose in doing this is to get them excited about their journal and writing. When you personalize it, they take ownership. Later in the year, when I begin to hear, I have nothing to write about. I ask them to take a look at their cover. Often there will be a picture of their family on the front that will spark a memory.
On a final note...
Thanks to Melonheadz for a touching tribute to the Boston! Truly saddened by these events. I grew up without fear of the world. My heart breaks for our children, who are growing up in a world with terrorism.