Celebrating Each Day with National Day Journals

Add some more fun to your calendar routine with your special education class by talking about the national day. National Day discussion journals are the perfect activity to add into your morning meeting! Why might you want to include the national day during your morning calendar routine? There are a ton of reasons including:

  • Predictable routine - format stays the same while the topic changes
  • Knowledge - learn and discuss random topics
  • Relevant - people of all ages enjoy talking about the national day
  • Language Arts - listen, read, and write about the national day
  • Fun and Motivating - obviously :) 
  • Differentiated - Four levels of differentiated journals are included along with a symbol supported classroom poster to encourage classroom discussion and participation among students of ALL levels
  • NO PREP - use the BSE Symbol Supported National Day resource and simply print (or digitally assign) and GO!

Here's what the classroom poster and 4 levels look like and how you can use these in your special education classroom with multiple levels of learners:

Classroom Poster

Use this classroom poster to project your screen in your classroom, share on a zoom video lesson, or print to use in small groups! You can use this poster to introduce the day, discuss and access prior knowledge about the topic of the national day.

Each national day poster includes symbol text with the date, discussion questions, a symbol sentence and a space at the bottom to tally your students' opinions! Have your students journal at their individual levels and then come back to tally as a class on what they thought about the national day.

Level 1: Non writers

Level 1 students who may not be able to write can circle / dot / point to the correct symbol options for the month and date. I love using dot markers for students with more limited mobile ability. Highlighters are also great to use as the student can circle or mark the symbol they choose and it can still be read either way.

The symbol sentence is next on the journals and you can decide what you want your students to do here with the sentence. They can either read the symbols, circle, or point to the topic symbol of the day or simply follow along with the class as you read the sentence together.

Next, students can give their opinion (errorless) by choosing one of the three options. I love that these are errorless, just like the BSE Daily Questions, as it shows students that their opinion is valued! And they don't have to worry about getting the answer wrong which can help increase their confidence when expressing their thoughts.

Finally, students can color the picture. Don't overlook this part! Choosing the appropriate colors, as well as coloring in the lines are also important skills.

Level 2: Tracers

Students completing the level 2 journals will trace both the date and topic. They will write the topic word to the best of their ability. (A possible fun accommodation here would be to have them use letter stamps to stamp out the word).

Then they can color the picture on the bottom and draw the picture as well. Depending on time and ability level of your students working on this level, you can direct them to do one or the other. Don't underestimate the importance of working on coloring in the lines and drawing pictures - these are key pre-writing skills and can often be seen as fun, so it's a perfect way to sneak in some more academic work!

Level 3: Beginning Writers

Students using level 3 are able to write or copy words. They will write the date and topic and can look at the classroom sample to help them fill in these blanks.

For the opinion statement, they will fill in the blank with their opinion from the word bank below the sentence line.

They will then write a sentence about the topic. You can differentiate even more here, by having some students copy the sentence about the topic listed above in their journal. You could have them write an "I like" or "I don't like" statement about the sentence. OR you can have your student write anything they would like to about the topic. Guide your students based on their ability levels and challenge each one appropriately!

They can then color and/or draw a picture about the topic - again guide as time and ability levels allow. Maybe you have students always draw the picture first and then if they have time they can also color.

Level 4: Writers (Blank template) 

Level 4 journal templates are the same each day. These are for your higher level students that would be able to copy the entire thing for the classroom sample and do not need the visuals on their journal template.

Students will use the first two lines to write what the day is. They will write their opinion (using the word bank from the classroom sample so they can participate in the tally at the end with the class). Then students can copy the sentence from the classroom poster or write their own sentence on the topic. Students will also draw a picture of the topic for each day.

Optional Homework

Send home the national days that fall on weekends or school holidays to complete as optional homework!

See all of the different levels in this short video, and save to Pinterest so you don't lose it!

Using national day journals digitally? 

You can write on these using the TpT Digital Tool or another PDF writer app such as Kami, SeeSaw, etc!

Grab the entire year's worth of national day journals by grabbing the discounted bundle HERE

Year long national day journals leveled with symbol support for special education classrooms

Now you are ready to celebrate each and every day of the entire year with your students, year after year! Less prep for you, more learning for your students. WIN WIN!

Differentiated National Day Journal worksheets for special education with symbol support

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