3 Weekly Student Journal Ideas to Improve Writing
Writing is one of the most important skills a person can have. It’s also notoriously difficult to teach. While there’s no perfect solution, we’ve found that the best way to improve student writing is to do everything in our power to help them enjoy it! Try capturing their creative spirit with these student journal ideas.
Capture a Memory / Moment from the Previous Week
Reflective journal activities are the most standard, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be fun! That said, traditional versions of this exercise can be boring—simply asking your students to reflect on the previous week often isn’t enough to engage them.
Instead, try starting this weekly exercise by asking your students to consider their most standout memory since the last journal. What happened? Who was there? How did it make the student feel?
Once it’s time to start writing, ask your students to recreate the experience in a way that they think will allow their fellow students to feel the same way they did. In doing so, you expose students to the idea of perspective and encourage them to think critically. Want to work in some art practice? This activity becomes all the more fun (and hilarious) when you ask your students to draw the memory, too.
Create a Goal for the Following Week
While positive reflection is a powerful skill to teach, goal-making is arguably even more so. Conveniently enough, you can encourage foresight in your students by simply inverting the previous journal exercise!
By asking students what they most want to accomplish in the next week, you encourage them to consider all the possibilities of tomorrow. When they finally decide what they want to accomplish, they’re likely to have started considering the steps they need to take to make it happen!
Sometimes students’ imaginations can make it hard to keep this exercise realistic. As such, we encourage you to create a theme for each week’s goal journal. For example, you can ask them what new thing they’d like to learn by next week, or where they’d like to go with their family. While it’s a good idea to keep the goals reachable, students will appreciate it if you encourage a more fantastic topic every few weeks.
Write a Short Story around a Visual Prompt
You know those caption contests in The New Yorker magazine? The ones with a little illustrated scene and a blank space for a caption? While we do love the previous two journal exercises, our favorite activity takes a leaf out of The New Yorker’s book (well, magazine).
Instead of asking your students to write about themselves, give them a small visual prompt! The more abstract, the better. If you give your students a picture that clearly portrays a bunch of ducks around a pond, you can expect a pile of stories about ducks around a pond. Try using pictures of landscapes or funny situations—the more open-ended, the better!
Your students will love creating their little stories every week. More than that, though, they’ll be practicing their skills of association, imagination, and of course writing!
These are three journal activities your students won’t soon grow tired of! Got any of your own? Let us know on Facebook or in this blog’s comments! Don’t forget to follow ECR4Kids on Facebook and Pinterest so you can stay tuned for our blog!