Monday, August 20, 2012


I start each school year by reading Judy Moody to the class as our first read aloud. It's a fun book for all grade levels, but is PERFECT for 3rd graders. 

Because the book starts off on Judy's first day of 3rd grade. Hello text-to-self connection!

I created a whole bunch of activities that go with the book and I use them throughout the first week of school in addition to teaching my procedures and routines and completing some of the back to school printable activities I created.

In the book Judy needs to create an All About Me collage as her first assignment. I springboard off of this and we make a collage on the Friday of the first week.

Except instead of making it on poster board, we make them on the cover of black and white composition notebooks. They bring in pictures, ticket stubs, articles, brochures, magazine clippings, etc. that tell about them.

And then we Modge Podge the heck out of them to seal them. They look great and last all year long.

I always do this on the first Friday afternoon for a few reasons.

  • It's it introduces "Fun Friday" (the time each week where I sneak in a little craftivity).
  • We work on brainstorming ideas for their Writer's Idea banks throughout the first week and this way we are ready to hit the ground running on the first full Monday.
  • All that Modge Podge it's nice to have  a few days of "air time."

Even if you don't read Judy Moody to your class, I would encourage you to have the kids make personalized journals. They really help them to take ownership of their writing and they make such wonderful keepsakes at the end of the year.

This FREE printable contains the letter I use to request families send in the needed items.  However, since you may not be reading the book, I have also included a more generic version of the letter. Enjoy!

For more tips and ideas on organizing and managing your classroom please check out my Clutter-Free Guide. This post is part of:

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  1. I have never modge podged notebooks before. How much modge podge would you suggest for a class of 25. Thank you for the parent letter!

  2. I love decorating writing notebooks. The kids love it and they treasure them. I used contact paper instead of the modge podge which worked really well. Modge Podge is quite foreign to me. lol

    Thanks for this great post and the parent letter. I want to refer it to some of the teachers I work with. :)


  3. Love love love your site!! Thank u for all of your wonderful ideas!! We also decorate our writers notebooks, & i use clear packaging tape to cover-stickier, cheaper, & so durable I've never had to recover.
    : )

  4. I love this idea! Thanks for sharing. I have a question for you (and your followers) though. I live overseas in Naples, Italy and teach for the Department of Defense. Living on a small base, we don't always have access to things that most teachers have easy access to. Modge Podge is one of those things. I think just mixing some regular glue with water and painting that over of the top will work...but what ratio glue:water? Any suggestions?

    1. Marsha I live in the UK where the only modge podge you can get is online. You are very right though about using glue, although I found using craft glue better as its not as thick. I just mixed it with a bit of water and left it for a few hours. Provided a nice shiny durable sheen to my items.


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