Bible Notebook - Help with writing

Learning God's Story
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Taking notes?

Unread post by schelean »

Michelle in WA wrote:dd takes notes to do bible notebook. Is this ok? I've been struggling trying to find ways to help her remember what I've read. She loves to write and reads very well.

She's totally capable, but has been complaining it's hard. I don't' expect this much, but once she gets going, it's hard to stop her. She really makes more work for herself.

Not sure what I'm asking. Maybe ideas on how you do the narration with your 1st?
Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:09 pm
I almost posted this same type of question last week. We were at the end of our rope! My dd was getting bogged down on the Bible Notebook. It was becoming a drudgery instead of the wonderful little book. We had a few really bad days last week and I knew something had to change.

I first called my husband, then just cried out to the Lord for help. He was faithful and showed me our problem and gave me a solution really quick!

I realized my daughter was just writing too many sentences for her summary. For every summary we were having to use an additional handwriting page. That was just way too much for her with the rough draft and then a final draft in her Bible Notebook. God just showed me (although I don't know why I couldn't figure it out on my own) the summary needed to be shorter and fit on one page.

Since forcing her to shorten her summary to the one page provided, things have been much happier during Bible Notebook time. We are on day 124.
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Re: Taking notes?

Unread post by RachelT »

Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:33 pm
I think the ways to do the Bible Notebook vary from student to student and teacher to teacher.

The way I understand it is that on Day 76 we begin to demonstrate how to summarize a story and then on Day 81 the student begins this process. In our case, my ds still will not write his own sentences. He draws a picture and we talk about it, then we come up with a sentence (occasionally two sentences) that summarizes the story. I write it in a light orange marker on the page and then he copies over it.

After reading Marie's instructions, I know that it would be better if my ds was writing the sentences on his own as a "rough draft" and learning to do a little editing and then writing a final copy in our notebooks, but we just aren't ready for that, yet. Just the fact that my ds now wants to draw the pictures is a miracle!

If you click on the "search" button at the top of this webpage, near where you "login", you could do a search for "Bible Notebook" and would probably find several past threads related to this subject.

I think it's great that some of the other 1st grade students are writing more than what can fit into the space. Yet, I think the space is adequate for a "summary". I think after you have your dd tell you what she remembers of the story, you could talk together about what to write about the story or picture in the Notebook and then encourage her to begin to copy over that summary sentence. Reading Marie's notes will help you much better, though, I am sure.
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Re: Taking notes?

Unread post by caod »

Posted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 5:19 am
We did this last year and got bogged down in exactly the same way. Maybe we have girls that love to talk!

I really began to see this in two different ways. I think we have to narrow down what we are asking the children to do. Summarizing a story and retelling a story are two different things. Summarizing is much harder.

I learned to just let her retell the story because that seemed important to her and is actually the skill they are developing at that point.

To take all those thoughts and consolidate them into an accurate summary is pretty high level stuff. After she retold the story I had to simply ask very direct questions that elicited the responses I wanted. Basically, I did the summary (in my head) and worded the questions so that she gave me a summary. Much like you all are describing. Your ideas are good and I should have done them. That is: let them tell the story to their liking and then go back summarize it.

When it comes to writing it down, I think it is fine to say, "Tell me what you liked most about the story," help them formulate that into a sentence to write and then type up their wordy retelling and tape it to the back of the book. My dd would shut down. You don't want them to not give you good feedback because they dread the work to come.

HOpe I haven't confused anyone. I think I am just rambling.
MJ in IL
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Re: Taking notes?

Unread post by MJ in IL »

Michelle in WA wrote:So, what are ways you help your child narrate the story? I've tried having her color while I read, but she can't remember what I said.

Then, how do you help your child keep it short & sweet for their summary when they want to be super detailed? Is it ok to let them take notes while you read, if it helps them focus?
Posted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 9:57 am
I haven't read Marie's directions/purpose for a few years but we did have a blast with our notebooks!

I think taking notes is fine... although personally I can't imagine my boys being able to do that in 1st grade... a few sentences was more than enough for them to write! Each child is different.

Are you most concerned about her comprehension, writing skills, conciseness (or main idea), spelling or grammar? I think your focus (and then goal for her page) would be a bit different for each area.

It's been awhile since I have done 1st, but we have quite a variety of pages in our notebooks! We have the...
- "rough draft" totally independently written summaries...complete with wildly inventive spelling and grammar;
- "final draft" summaries that Mom corrected and ds's rewrote;
- pages with my writing a more complex narration from them;
- very simple pages with 'bulleted' important ideas from the story (probably similar to the notes you were originally talking about)

I love the variety and, as the physical task of writing was a big deal for my boys, I tried to not make my focus on that for each page in a week.
MJ in IL
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Unread post by MJ in IL »

Cyndi (WA) wrote:I'm wondering if I should stop asking her to "perform" and just model how to do it myself for a little while to see if she gets it...
Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2008
I don't know if you want more ideas from someone who is not at that point right now but...I would say, "Yes!" Finding the main idea or summarizing are difficult concepts to understand.

I guess I would ask leading questions to try and get to the main idea. If your dd gives you the "long version" with all the details, applaud her skills in remembering so much and let her know that we don't really want to write all that! "I think we should simply write..." and make it short and sweet, using as many of her words as possible. This skill will be practiced many times in the years to come!
Texas Gal
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Re: Modeling?

Unread post by Texas Gal »

Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:31 pm
Both of my kids are quite good at remembering details and being able to retell the stories. Summarizing is a bit different, though.

When they are struggling, I have them pretend that Daddy is coming upstairs to see what they've been learning today. When he asks what their bible story is about, what will they tell him? If they still give too many details, I have them whittle it down a bit. I point out that that's a great sentence, but they aren't going to want to write that much, so we need to make it a bit shorter. Works every time.

If they make it too short, I have them pretend that they are telling a non-churched friend about their story. They can't just say "Daniel and the Lions' Den" because their friend doesn't know that story. They need to give a little more information. I write down what they say on a white board, and then they copy it into their notebooks. If they make spelling or grammar mistakes, I tell them to look at that part again, and usually they see their mistake on their own and correct it.
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Is this sentence average?

Unread post by my3boys »

mgardenh wrote:I was just wondering for a first grader who has aspergers (high functioning Autism). Who has a great difficulty writing. Where do you think what she wrote falls in. Normal, Above level, or below. I am just talking about the sentences not the spelling. Here is what she wrote to summarize the Solomon passage:
  • "Solamon was wise. very wise! And he and friends built The Temple."
She came up with the summary on her own with no help and wrote it. Not knowing what a first grader should be capable to do, I was just wondering. If there are any tips that you can give me to help dd please share.
Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 7:53 am
I would think that sentence is at least average if not above average for any 6yo.
Julie in MN
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Re: Is this sentence average?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 2:41 pm
I would give her an A+! She was able to summarize the essentials of the story more concisely than most scholars!

There are a few notebooking examples in MFW manuals over the years, but kids are all over the map in elementary school. Or even in college, for that matter. It's mostly a matter of (1) evaluating where she's at now, and (2) working towards a little progress each year.
Julie in MN
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Are his summaries too long? (1st)

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Mom2theteam wrote:My son is in the last third of 1st, just completed day 126. We are struggling to fit his summaries on one page sometimes. He writes 3-4 sentences. I know it's supposed to be a summary, but he likes to be detailed. Here is today's summary as an example. This is for the story of Jesus' Birth.
  • "Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem. Mary had baby Jesus. He slept in a manger. Wise men and shepherds followed a star. They worshipped Jesus."
    He wanted to add that the Wise men and shepherds brought gifts, but he couldn't really fit it. He was pretty much out of room.
Am I not having him condense enough? I don't feel like the above summary is too verbose for a short summary, but maybe it is. Thoughts?

At this point, for almost all of his summaries, we are trying to condense enough to make sure it fits. Oh, we are working on spacing. He does put too much space between his words, but his penmanship is pretty good overall and not huge.

As a side note: Does anyone know if the lines get smaller on the worksheets for Adventures? I feel like he would do better with smaller lines, but we need to finish with his Bible Notebook for this year. Thanks!
If you feel like he'd do better with smaller lines, you could try a page where you drew a solid line where the dotted line is, and see if he could write in half the space.

Another option is to draw an extra set of lines above the top one on the page, or even to let him perch his first line on top of the set of lines.

If you don't think it's too long, then I'm sure it's okay. My youngest two kids are polar opposites, one writing word-for-word and the other summarizing in two words (that aren't even always accurate), and both have had issues to work on over the years - but not in kindergarten :)

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Re: Are his summaries too long? (1st)

Unread post by gratitude »

My boys were opposite too on the written page. My first gave long oral narration and one sentence written in MFW1. My second gave 2 sentences in MFW1. I would have loved it if they had written 3 to 4 sentences for MFW1!

He is doing great & is well prepared for ADV.

The lines are the same size on ADV. There are more lines though on each page since the drawings to color take up less space than the MFW1 page. The ADV pages are not pre bound and go into a three ring binder. If you wanted to work up to 5 sentence narrations for ADV you could slip in a page of lined paper behind each notebook sheet in the binder.

I am glad it is going so well for you.
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Re: Are his summaries too long? (1st)

Unread post by Yodergoat »

My daughter also has lengthy summaries, and she sometimes has to draw extra lines. I wish the lines were smaller... Gail writes much more neatly on small lines. She really sprawls her letters and spacing out too much when there is so much room, but can write very neatly on narrow lines. I am a little surprised and disappointed that the Adventures lines are the same size. :~ We may have to use alternate paper.

I think your son's summary is great! I've never been known for being concise, myself, and I'd rather have too much information than too little. ;)
I'm Shawna...
... a forgiven child of God since 1994 (age 16)
... happily wed to William since 1996
... mother of our long-awaited Gail (3/15/2006)
... missing 6 little ones (4 miscarriages, 2 ectopics)
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Re: Are his summaries too long? (1st)

Unread post by CaseyVG »

I think his summary sounds great! My son has already figured out that the shorter the summary, the less writing he has to do. He gets mad at me when I make him write two sentences instead of one!

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Re: Are his summaries too long? (1st)

Unread post by Mom2theteam »

Thank you everyone! I am going to draw extra lines for him on the back. I'm glad to hear you all say he is doing well also. I read him parts of your comments and he was very proud of himself. :D

Thank you!
CaseyVG wrote:I think his summary sounds great! My son has already figured out that the shorter the summary, the less writing he has to do. He gets mad at me when I make him write two sentences instead of one!
Don't worry! Mine did this earlier in the year too...and you see where he is now!! He went from taking an hour to read one story, writing short summaries, like you describe above, and whining and complaining so much that I wanted to quit and send him to public school (but never would ;)) to reading his Bible stories in 10 minutes or less, writing long summaries, reading ahead in his Bible reader while I'm not around then asking questions or telling me about it later. Now, he is begging to read his reader constantly and even takes it and his Bible notebook with us in car to look at/read. He usually reads and does his Bible notebook for 2 stories a day. He has been doing double this for about a week now. I'm okay with it because I'm ready to be done with 1st grade. :-) It was a major struggle getting her, but watching the change has been amazing! It seems like it happened almost overnight.

So, I'd encourage you to try to relax and be patient and not push too hard. I think that was a mistake I made early on, pushing too hard and making us both miserable. It helped a lot when I just backed off a bit. I didn't want to make him dread doing it and turn him off to it completely. Once it really clicked he has really taken off. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. He will blossom before your eyes! :-)
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Unread post by MelissaB »

bethinga wrote:We're in unit 30 of Learning God's Story First Grade. I've begun using the Bible Notebook for dictation (I use sentences from the Bible Reader story we're on) so that I can make time for the creative witting that's suggested (story writing notebook daily). But my son is still SO distracted and dawdling, even though I'm now TELLING him what to write in the Bible Notebook, one word at a time. He can write, he just can't stay on task. He enjoys the creative writing, which is why I've changed the Bible Notebook into dictation (if I tried to have him make up his own sentences as before for the Bible Notebook, he wouldn't have energy left for creative writing).

How do you get kids to stop dawdling so much, when they KNOW how to do it? I've also just started K with my 5 year old, so I'm busy with more than one kid. I need him to move along, so I can work with my daughter.
I think that's pretty common for a little man that age. ;) Ideas? Here are some ideas that have worked for us and other families as well:

1. Set a timer with a small piece of candy beside it. If he finishes before the timer goes off, he can have the piece of candy. (Note: Don't give in if he doesn't beat the timer, even if only a second! Otherwise, you'll have a battle on your hands every day. :) ) If he doesn't get the candy, O.K.! Don't worry... he will eventually get it. He's not only strengthening his ability to get his scripture dictation done; he's also improving his ability to focus on a task.

2. Set a timer. When it goes off, he's finished - no matter how much or how little he's accomplished. If he gets finished every day for a week, he chooses a special dessert or a special treat for the family to enjoy together that weekend.

3. Have dictation be last, right before his break time. If he beats the timer, he goes to "recess" or break early! If not, he can actually be eating away his play time (this can backfire with a little man full of energy).

4. The worst idea for us Moms, but it's very effective with older students: All unfinished work gets done Saturday morning before any play time is allowed. This plan takes several weeks of being consistent, and this is a lot of work for Moms, but has been very effective for many families.

Hope that's helpful! :)
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
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Re: Writing

Unread post by kw4blessings »

What great ideas! I think I'll use #1 with my dd who struggles with focusing on her math pages. Thanks!
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Re: Writing

Unread post by MelissaB »

I'm so thankful for a spot where all of us moms can come & brainstorm and share ideas together. We're all learning together. :)
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4
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Re: Writing

Unread post by bethinga »

Idea #1 worked! We are slowly working through the remainder of the Easter candy. ;)
Beth in GA
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Using MFW since 2012
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