The Hidden Joy of Writing Journals

Every weekend, my students take home a writing journal with a simple writing assignment. Last year I tried to get them to write more about their life, and most pages came back filled with monotonous day-to-day, “First I woke up, then I watched T.V.” type entries.

This year I started to incorporate their writing assignments with things actually happening in the classroom.

Why should we recycle?

Who is your favorite author and why?

What did you learn about the water cycle this week?

During our last writing unit on non-fiction, one of my students was really struggling to pick an “all-about” book topic. One weekend his assignment was to write about his favorite animal. Instead of a simple journal entry, he wrote an all-about book (about tigers, his favorite animal) without even realizing it!

As I mentioned in my last post, we recently started learning about how to write fairy tales. The assignment for the weekend was to pick a fairy tale character you like the best and write about why you would want to be that character. One of my girl’s came back with an entry about how she would be Jasmine, because the thought flying on a magic carpet with the birds would be amazing. Here is a look at the end of her entry:

Reading my students’ journal entries is a highlight of my week! What kind of writing topics do you give your students?