I designed these journals as an opportunity for my students to write and build their vocabulary in a fun way. I have used the journals with third, fourth, and fifth graders for many years in my classroom. These journals provide what some call Quick Writes – opportunities to respond briefly to a prompt. The diverse activities in each journal allow the students to generate ideas more quickly as they move through the writing prompts during the year. I always encourage the children to use scrap paper first and then write their revised versions in the journal booklets.
The kids are always excited when I introduce each new journal. I always give them to the students on the first school day of the month, and we work on them in and out of class until the last school day of each month. I briefly go through the activities in the entire journal when I first give out the new journals. In this way, the students who are capable may go ahead if they wish to do so.
The students begin each day working in their journals. I usually give them about 15 minutes to work. If there is a concept that is new to the students (such as the acrostic poem or the Haiku), I will do a mini-teach first. The children may take two or three days to complete an activity, while it may take only one class period to do others. I also allow the students to take home their Journals to complete. This helps the slower students to keep up with the activities.
Whenever I am teaching a particular skill in writing, such as effective introductions and conclusions, or transition words, or effective use of adjectives, I use these quick writes to do so. One day we may concentrate on spelling, while another day we may concentrate on punctuation.