Oklahoma State University

Journal Writing, Grades 4-8, Teacher's Guide

One-Time Journal Entry Exercise

In the beginning of the film, Angie talks about keeping a daily diary. Ask students if they ever write in a journal. How often? Why do they or why don’t they keep a journal? Have them write a journal entry about their day. When did they wake up this morning? What did they have for breakfast? How did they get to school? What have they learned so far today? Ask them to sign it like Angie did and include the date. Grade each entry on completion and how well the student followed directions.  

Weeklong Journal Exercise

If you want to extend this activity for an entire week or even longer, have students write an entry in their journals every day. Give them fifteen minutes to do so, and provide some suggestions for topics they could write about. At the end of the week, let students pick out one entry to share with the class. Grade each entry on completion and how well the student followed directions. [At the outset of this exercise, let students know that they may need to read an entry aloud, so that they can write about something they would feel comfortable sharing with the class.]

Some Suggestions for Journal Topics

What is something you do well? Explain.
What is something you would like to study? Why?
What qualities make a good neighbor?
What is your favorite book? Why?
What is a topic you want to learn more about?
What is the best advice you ever received?
What would you say are your best character traits? Explain.
What is your favorite thing to do with your family?
What are some things in life that you feel are unfair?
If you were to write a book on any subject, what would it be? Why?
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?