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Make a Simple Summer Journal by Mary Alice Gruppi

Mary Alice Gruppi is a middle school language arts teacher who morphed into an elementary administrator. Currently she is the principal of a K-5 school. She blogs at There’s a Pal in Principal. In addition to today’s post, Mary Alice created a slide show with more samples of these journals. Make sure to click the link because you won’t want to miss it!

Are you looking for an easy end of year project to make with your class? These simple notebooks are just the item for your students to use as summer journals!

Make these simple journals in minutes!

I’ve created them with fourth and fifth graders. We made them at a staff meeting, at Writer’s Group and I’ve seen teachers create them with their classes for a variety of purposes. I like them just for fun.

What you need……

*You’ll need some paper for the cover. The blue and white booklets are donated card stock.  The red cover is a leftover junior football registration flier I rescued from the recycle bin. Two booklets have donated paper inside, and in one I used the writing paper that has been in the storage area for years when the lower grades switched to a different style.

*Gather some straws from the dollar store, coffee stirrers from the last Box of Joe in the Teachers Room, or some twigs from the back yard. Make sure you have one for every booklet.

*You’ll need an elastic for each book. I save the elastics from Whole Foods when I buy berries.

* Borrow as many paper punches as you can from your neighboring classrooms. Wal Mart has the best price if you want to buy your own. I’ve used the electric paper punch in the office, but I find it a little unreliable as far as hole placement. I like to see where I’m punching the holes!

Ready? This is so simple you’ll be amazed!

Fold your cover in half. Fold your inside pages, put them inside the cover, and trim if needed.

Fold your cover in half, as well as the inside pages.

Punch two holes with your hole punch. Measure down from the top and up from the bottom about 2 inches. If you make a smaller book, adjust accordingly.

Pull one end off the elastic through the bottom hole and slide your straw, stirrer or twig into the loop. Pull the other end through the top hole and slide the other end of the straw, stirrer or twig through that.

There it is! Try using a pen or pencil for fun. These pencils were left over from the ‘old days’ when we gave the Kindergarteners big pencils for little hands instead of the golf pencils we use now!

Use a pencil to secure the spine.

I got inspired and grabbed my stamps for the nature journal!

Thanks to Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord and her making site for the original idea.

Thanks to Stacey and Ruth for so many inspirations and for the fun of posting this project.

P.S. If you’re reading this you’re a dedicated professional who believes in the power of writing.  Congratulations!

8 thoughts on “Make a Simple Summer Journal by Mary Alice Gruppi

  1. Love this! Can I say, too, that these would make great autograph books?
    Our lest “genre study” is on autographs and inscriptions. This rounds it out perfectly. Thrilled with your great ideas!


  2. I have enjoyed Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord’s monthly email updates about making books for a little over a year now and have used a number of her ideas in the classroom and for my own use. Kids love these fun books.


  3. What a fun idea! I love that you showed examples of all different possibilities. It does seem like they would be easy to make as well. I am thinking of making some with my girls and sharing the post with some of my colleagues when we are back at school in August.


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