This packet is a BUNDLE of all nine of my monthly writing journals. I have also offered each individual journal for purchase on this site. For more thumbnail sketches of this packet, go to each of the journals by month and view these. This should give you about 36 more sketches to view.
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. friends have used them with second and some have used them for sixth graders. These journals provide what some call Quick Writes – opportunities to respond briefly to a prompt. They also include many longer writing assignments. It includes poetry writing and opinion writing pieces. The diverse activities in each journal allow the students to generate ideas 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. You may choose to use some or all of the activities for each month.
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. As I give out each new month, I briefly go through the activities in the entire journal. 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 and encourage the students to take home their journals to complete. This helps the slower students to keep up with the activities.
There are several ways you might use each journal: First, you may do as I do and staple the pages, including the cover, together in a booklet. Second, you may choose any or all activities and hand them out one at a time. A third way could be to punch holes in the pages and have the students place them in a one-half inch binder, where they can store all of the activities for a semester or for the year. Finally, if you select not to make copies, you may project an activity on the board and have the students copy each prompt as they complete them. Of course, this would not be possible for the puzzle pages.
I have always found that one of the biggest problems with helping students become good writers is their inability to realize that they have anything of value to say. I try to make the writing and vocabulary activities short and fun. The majority of the activities can be done within a 20 to 30 minute time frame. Others may take as much as two hours to complete.
It is so necessary to model good writing with your students, but if you share with them your trip to the Grand Canyon, these children sit there and think, “Well, I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon or any place else that exciting!” You must help them to see that a walk to a nearby park or a short trip to grandma’s house can also be exciting. My journal activities can be modeled easily by the teacher.