August 8, 2013

Throwback Thursday... FREEBIE!

I almost didn't make it this week for Throwback Thursday with The First Grade Parade! I worked in my classroom for most of the morning and early afternoon, then came home and immediately began working on my initial activities and lessons for my eighth grade English students... a prezi and project menu for the novel Underground by Jean Ferris and a set of QR Codes that lead to Padlet boards for the novel The Coffin Quilt by Ann Rinaldi. I'm tickled with how everything turned out. I'll probably share more about this next week for Tried It Tuesday as this was the first time I tried Prezi and QR Codes.

Anyway, I'm off topic... back to Throwback Thursday.

On  March 13, 2013, I blogged about an activity that I developed more than 25 years ago out of desperation.... and I'm so glad that I did.


I've been up to my elbows in things from my old Teacher's Desk website. Sorting through all the drawers has been tedious but also a trip down memory lane. For instance, one of the activities I found in the English drawer is called Quiet Hour Journals. I remember a class of sixers that I had about 26 years ago. Goodness, were they ever chatty! Every one of their teachers complained about the incessant talking whenever they were in their class. We talked about strategies to help them overcome this behavior. Our principal even had us trained in Lee Canter's Assertive Discipline Program. However, nothing seemed to work. Out of frustration one afternoon came this brainstorm of an idea  Quiet Hour Journals.

  1. Give each student a sheet of 9" by 12" construction paper. Have him/her fold it in half to form a booklet cover.
  2. Instruct each student to take five sheets of loose-leaf paper, fold them in half, slip them inside the cover, and staple all the pages together.
  3. The Quiet Hour Journal is now completed and ready to go.
  4. Give each student ten bingo chips and these instructions:
    • For the next 60 minutes, no conversation is permitted. All communication is to be done via writing. Write any message or question in your Quiet Hour Journal and pass it to your intended recipient.
    • The recipient is to read your entry and respond in kind.
    • If the recipient catches any proofreading mistake you made, he/she may take one of your bingo chips.
    • If anyone catches somebody talking, he/she may take one of your bingo chips.
    • If at any time you run out of bingo chips, you may no longer participate in the activity.
    • At the end of 60 minutes, the person with the most bingo chips is awarded a small prize.
I use to participate with my students.  Sometimes, I was called upon to settle a dispute. If a student challenged another's proofreading correction, I acted as a moderator, communicating with the pair through my journal. If the challenger was correct, he/she took back the lost bingo chip plus one of the student's chips who was challenged. This makes for more careful initial writing and proofreading.

I haven't done this activity in a few years. Actually, I haven't needed to do it so I pushed it to the back of the desk drawer. I'm glad I spent time today cleaning. This is the PERFECT activity for this year's sixers, another chatty bunch. Can't wait to try it this week!


I did try it with last year's crop of sixers! They LOVED it and begged to do it repeatedly! I was able to use it as an incentive to behave... LOVED it! This year' incoming sixers will not NEED this activity; however, I think I'm going to use it anyway. Here's a little FREEBIE if you decide to do Quiet Hour Journals with your class. I made it to match all the cute Polka Dot/Monster themed decor I made this summer. You can download the cover HERE or by clicking on the graphic. ENJOY!

Before you leave hop on over to my sweet bloggy friend Jamie's 200 Follower Celebration at Sixth Grade Tales. She's got a really nice giveaway package waiting for a lucky blog visitor!

And also stop by my bloggy friend Heather's 300 Follower Celebration at Peacocks and Penguins. She's got a HUGE giveaway going on. You won't believe the prizes!

Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

Freebie Fridays


  1. I LOVE the quiet journal idea! I think I know what I'll be working on this weekend ;)

    Peacocks & Penguins

    p.s. Thanks for the shout out!

  2. I've done something similar, but I never thought to use poker chips as the incentive to follow directions and still write thoughtfully. What a fabulous idea!!


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