Monday, 12 November 2012

Encouraging Children To Keep A Diary (Part 2)

A diary is like a personal friend. 
For upper primary girls, it can be a sanctuary where they can voice their feelings and thoughts with their daily goings-on of school, CCA, good friends or even bullies. My girl sometimes write about her friends and also crappy substitute teachers... Ahakz!  But i do agree with her on one thing... she has a fabulous form teacher!
Here are some sharings from my DD1's diaries and also as promised earlier, this is the second part to my initial diary writing post.  If you have missed the first part, here's the link.
As children grow older, their writing ideas matures with their thoughts. My elder girl started off her diary entry with a cute note : SECRET DIARY. She says this is a book of secrets and only for her and mummy to share. Daddy too if he wants to and also not forgetting mei-mei. 
I bought her this new WINX CLUB diary with a small lock and key, (mebbe that's why she wanted to write the words 'secret diary'...  ) after she finished her previous diary till the last page and coincidentally she did her revision of spelling words very well. As she didn't know that she was gg to get this new diary..... and the fact that she LOVED WINX CLUB so much at that time..... she dedicated her first entry to her new prized possession.
To address the issue of the "and then(s)" first... :lol: 
Hee... Just to share that mine does it too! 

Not to worry though, as this can be easily improved with introduction to more conjunctions. I'll go into this later on... 
As children will be exposed to school compositions and will be taught to write in paragraphs, do introduce paragraphing even if it's 1 paragraph at one time. Meaning to say that it can be a long entry for the day, but only 1 paragraph was used. A paragraph has to be started with a beginning sentence slightly a distance away from the margin. At this stage parents can help them channel their thoughts aligning to the standard 3-parts of writing composition. ie. beginning, middle and ending; (or introduction, body & conclusion) where eventually the paragraphing practice will take effect.
Here is a sample of her work with paragraphing.
She drew pictures on her mini notepad on the way there and also when she was at the venue itself. 
She pasted them in her diary pages as well.

However just a point to note though... a diary need not be like a creative writing piece like those they do in school. Oh no! Cos then it wud be like a chore.... another piece of work to do. It should hold as many memories of their growing up years as possible detailing their lives as children. 
Happy children ideally.. 

As parents we can also introduce useful idioms and use of synonyms too so as to encourage a broader usage of vocabulary in their writings, as we go along reading their diaries together with them.
Diaries are also a good source of accounting...... of pocket money. Children who already have pocket money can start accounting practice already. For my then P1, it also helps with addition & subtraction practice other than just to help them build their own piggy bank. 
Here's how we started out...
As she was younger then, she was pretty much more a visual counter when it came to counting money. So, whatever she has in front of her (concrete) she will translate it to paper (abstract) the same way, by drawing out the coins. 
Another way wud be to shade on the coins! 
With daily practice, she has developed a more standardized form of accounting using the Montessori addition process I've taught her to work with. 

As she grew older, we did not have to prompt her entries anymore. Her inputs were usually her own ideas and initiatives... 
till today.  
Diary writing is also a form of discipline just like showering and brushing of teeth. When it is encouraged from young, 
it would come as almost automatic for the child to 
write in the daily inputs. 
Nowadays, good days or on bad days both DDs love to write in their thoughts for the day..... everyday. So mummy and daddy have more of their childhood days' stories to read when we're old and grey..... and missing them greatly when they have their own family to care for. 
Pictures do paint a thousand words... but the words coming from the children themselves are priceless as well. We keep the diaries in our family treasure box with all our other family keepsake. Boy our box is bursting... 

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