All of my students have a notebook. I use composition books, but spiral notebooks are fine. During the last 10 minutes every Friday, my students write a letter to their parents. They write about the activities that we did during the week, new facts or skills that they have learned, their goals and their proud moments. I spent some time at the beginning of the year teaching the friendly letter format. Since I encourage students to use their best writing, grammar, spelling and handwriting skills- this is a great writing practice.
Students love the Friday journals too. I let parents know that they can write a letter back to their student in the journal! As my students unpack their backpack on Monday, they find their journal and excitedly read the note from their parent. I love that parents are encouraging their student and complimenting them on their growth. They have fantastic conversations in those journals that warm my heart and bring smiles to the kiddos' faces! Sometimes a kiddo doesn't have a letter in their journal, but they don't mind too much. They will just remind their parents next week. And if a kiddo really never gets a note from their parent- I grab their notebook out of their desk every few minutes. I leave them a surprise letter!
It costs about 50 cents (or less) for a notebook and 10 minutes of class time per week! So doable!
How about a FREEBIE?! You can download my Friday journal cover and a letter to parents (that I glue on the inside cover) by clicking on the picture below.