Journal writing is an important aspect of any Language Arts curriculum. It encourages children to write freely about topics that interest them without the stress of having to produce a formal written text. Journals are a wonderful way to keep track of student progress from week to week, month to month, and even from the beginning to the end of the year. As well, they make really cute keepsakes when collected throughout the year and given back at the end of their time with you!
But let’s face it. Planning for journal writing was a lot of work. It was exhausting coming up with weekly ideas to present to my students and to be honest, I usually made them up in the fly right before my lesson was about to begin. Some of my third graders were struggling to come up with sentences when it came time to write. Others were struggling with setting up the proper paragraph/ sentence formation when writing in their notebooks. I felt that whenever I modeled how to write in a journal, my students would just copy what I was doing and the ideas I was using. On top of that, I was drowning with all the reading and commenting I was doing when their writing was done. Some of my students were becoming frustrated with the whole process and I had zero motivation in reading all the journals each week. I knew that there had to be a better way to support my students during their journal writing block – and a better way for me to manage all the correcting, commenting, and paperwork associated with journals in the classroom.
I spent a lot of time thinking about how to change up the traditional way of journal writing. I knew that I still wanted the children to write about specific topics on a weekly basis and I still wanted to read what the children were producing. I also wanted to target specific learning goals in their journal writing such as proper use of capital letters, proper use of punctuation, usage of weekly vocabulary words, etc. I also needed to make sure that my students and I would be able to compete our journal writing block within a 30 minute period.
After talking with some of my colleagues and reflecting on the needs of my ELL students, I came up with a unique approach to journal writing that saves me time, but most importantly, helps my students along the way!
Imagine prepping an ENTIRE academic year of journal writing in just a few hours? Imagine having a years worth of journal writing at the tips of your finger? It can be done and YOU CAN DO IT!
Take a look!
Click on the photo up above to see these in my TpT store.
Each monthly set of Writing Journals comes with the following:
1 black and white cover page specific to the month
5 visual writing prompts to choose from. These can be printed or projected on a SmartBoard to get students thinking about the topic of the week.
5 brainstorming sheets for each topic where students can write 5 bright ideas about the topic
Place for students to draw out their ideas before writing
the finished product
Since I did not want to collect 21 writing journals each week, I decided to include a Monthly Masterpiece set. At the end of the month, I ask my students to choose 1 journal entry that they feel is their best work. They fill out their Monthly Masterpiece and then pass it in to me for evaluation. This cuts my workload down from 84 journals to be corrected each month to 21!! Over the course of one academic year, that is a whole lot of time saved that I can use for prepping materials and hanging out with my family!
If you would like to access the complete bundle of these journals, please click HERE
If you aren’t ready to commit to a full year of these journals and would like to see the individual months, please click HERE
Have a great day!