Journal Writing Ideas

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Discover how to build your students meta-cognition skills with fun journal writing ideas.  You can promote literacy across the curriculum with active writing topics that encourage kids to share.

Daily exposure to writing lessons and practice is critical, especially for students with learning differences.

journal writing ideas for the elementary classroom

We want to develop an intrinsic desire in our students to fully appreciate the craft of good writing. 

But there is also the need to communicate about our learning both orally and in the written form.

How can Using Journals Help my Students?

Journaling is one of the easiest types of writing lessons to implement in any classroom.  The hard part is training the students to write the whole time and stay on topic!

Why should you take the time to use writing journals?

  • Powerful Brainstorming
    Often the best ideas come when we just write about anything, and that is the same for our students.

  • Builds Student Confidence
    Even struggling writers can achieve writing confidence if they know their journaling will not be formally assessed but viewed as a time for self-expression, inter-communication and an opportunity to try new techniques and ideas.  Even kindergarten writers can do this!

  • Promotes Memory
  • Students who have issues with short-term memory can really benefit from journal writing. When they have to write about their day, an activity they did with the family last night, a special trip they just took...this works on their memory skills.
  • Develops Meta-cognition
    Putting thoughts into words helps to clarify and solidify thinking. When students share their mathematical understandings in written form with their classmates, teachers, and parents, students develop confidence in themselves as mathematical learners

  • Less Paperwork
    Journals cut down (significantly) the number of worksheets teachers grade, and it is a more genuine method of monitoring student learning.

  • Promotes Skills of Text Construction
    Diagramming, labeling, showing clear steps and strategies...these are all part of what kids need to do with their writing to be effective communicators.

Journal Writing Ideas and Topics

Sample Journal Writing Ideas for Math

  • Use math vocabulary words in a paragraph or a story
  • Diagram a shape, labeling the vertices, lines, angles, and giving a title
  • Describe how to find the sum of a three digit problem across zeros
  • Take a survey and summarize the results
  • Show how to solve a problem using a list
  • Reflect on what you learned in math today

Sample Ideas for Science

  • Use two pieces of paper, side by side.  On the left, draw and label what you observed.  On the right, describe what you observed (give specific vocabulary to include)
  • Ongoing practice of the scientific method
  • Record your connections (self, world, text)
  • Use text questions for the students to answer in the journals
  • Show students an interesting article.  They can predict what it is about, write interesting facts from it, summarize it and turn any data into a diagram or chart.  Good resources are:
  • Science News for Kids
  • Bluesci
  • Engish Online (perfect for all learners as it makes difficult topics accessible)

More  creative writing ideas are found here.

Simple Writing Prompts

A miserable feeling is when...
If I could choose a time to live in, it would be...
If I had 3 wishes, I would wish for...
Pretend you are an animal in the ocean. What would you be and why? Describe what you would do.
What color do you think love is? Explain.
Something I know a lot about is...
The worst food in the world.
Words I think are funny.
Here are some astonishing facts I know!
What a thunderstorm is like.
When I am sad, this is what I do to feel better.
One thing my mother won't let me do.
If I was on a deserted island, this is the one thing I think I would need.
"Even monkeys fall out of trees." - Japanese proverb
"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up." - Mark Twain
"I complained that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet." - Persian proverb
"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary." - May Smith
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

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