Do you have a difficult time getting your upper elementary students to journal write, especially during this time of year? Daily journal writing is very important, especially at these grade levels. An effective Journal Writing program doesn’t mean you just sit back and relax while your kids write about whatever they want. You can use well-chosen journal topics, classical music, and checklists to make the most of your students’ daily writing time. Let’s talk about some ways to make journal writing for elementary students fun!
1. Get your students Excited about the Writing Topic
Some teachers let students write about whatever they want everyday. This is fine if it works for your class, but sometimes students may spend the entire 20 minutes coming up with a topic or have no clue what to write about every single day. Plus, you may have that one student who always writes what he did on recess (and it’s the same thing everyday).
To make journal writing more effective in my classroom, I used to make the journal writing topic for the day a really exciting part of the day. Drumroll….present it on the Smartboard with fun music, lift a curtain to reveal it. Whatever it may be that works for your classroom, jazzing up how you do this can really help to engage students in this journal writing portion of the day.
Sometimes having a theme for the day is the way to go as well. This way there is some structure to your planning and what students will expect, yet the topic still changes daily.
Here are some examples:
- Make it Mondays (Make a picture of your bedroom and write about it)
- Tell Me Tuesdays (Tell me about a time when you fell down)
- Free-Write Fridays (Free-write about whatever you want!)
2. Let Students Lay on the Floor/Sit Where They Want
Besides making the topic fun and engaging, this could be the one time of day in which students can generally relax and spread out around the room. Sitting somewhere besides your typical seat in elementary school is always that much more fun! Let them lay on the floor, bring a pillow, sit on bean bags, maybe even lay in the hallway if they want to! You could even have a very special seat that is rotated each day or week for this time, such as sitting at the teacher’s desk to write or laying on the classroom couch. At the beginning of the year when you go over rules for each part of the day, make sure that you lay out the expectations for this writing journal block very clearly so that it can run smoothly all year without many behavior issues. You could perhaps make it clear that anyone who is not writing like they are supposed to during this time should go back to their seat and not be given the privilege to sprawl out under the table or other parts of the room.
3. Doodle Writing and Technology
Having students “doodle” during writing as well as letting them type on the computer or ipad can sometimes be more engaging for them. Let’s talk about the Daily Doodle Writing Journal Prompts, because these may be your saving grace in getting students to write during your journal writing block!
These Daily Doodle Writing Journal Prompts can be used on the computer or tablet via Google Slides or printed out in black and white for students to write on and then color in their doodles. This makes it a great resource for anyone that is teaching virtually or anyone teaching in-person. There are 20 prompts per monthly unit total, so that means that there are enough prompts to use one prompt on every single weekday during that month. The best part is that all of the prompts are themed about topics for that particular month.
How You Can Use Them in the Classroom:
There are multiple ways that these Daily Doodle Writing Journal Prompts can be used in the classroom, depending on your needs. They could be used as bell ringers or morning work right when they enter the classroom. After all, first thing in the morning is typically when students are most productive so it makes sense to get writing out of the way, right? You could also use them during your normal writing block and have your entire writing block for the month already planned out! In addition, these writing journal prompts could be used as exit tickets at the end of the day or at the end of the writing block, as fun activities for your early finishers or an end of year keepsake that you could make into a book and even gift to their parents.
Why Students Love Them:
Students love these Daily Doodle Writing Journal Prompts for many reasons.
Each journal page has:
- a journal writing topic
- quick graphic organizer
- place to insert OR doodle a picture
- section to write about the topic
These journal prompts and topics are a good way to get their creative writing juices flowing and write on a variety of topics. The graphic organizers are set up in a way to help students really organize their thoughts. Besides this, students are not always doing the same kind of writing. Included in these journal prompts are a good mix of informational, opinion and narrative prompts.
Students also love the technology aspect on these daily journal prompts, should you use it. For some reason, typing can sometimes be more fun than writing with a pencil. If you want to work on handwriting skills, you could have them type into the graphic organizers and then write the rough draft on paper for their more formal writing.
The Daily Journal Writing Prompts are available in different monthly options:
Enjoy your journal writing with your students and remember to have fun!
Until Next Time,