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Journal Writing, Grades 9-12, 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 week. What goals have they attained thus far? What else do they hope to accomplish? What is the worst thing that has happened this week? What is the best thing that has happened? What have they learned? Ask them to sign it like Angie did and include the date. Grade each entry on completion and effort. [At the outset of this exercise, let students know that they will need to turn in their entry at the end, so that they can write about something they feel comfortable sharing.]

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 twenty minutes to do so, and provide suggestions for topics they could write about, or let them choose their own topic. Let them be creative and include original poetry or song lyrics. Grade each entry on completion and effort.

Suggestions for Journal Topics

What is something you do well? Explain.
What is your favorite book? Why?
If you could do anything after high school, what would it be?
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?
What is the nicest thing you have done for someone?
What are some prejudices you notice regularly?

 

Besides meeting some of the Oklahoma PASS objectives, journal writing helps students have a positive writing experience in which they can freely express themselves without worrying about proper spelling and punctuation. Students should feel free to write about whatever they want, with no worry of being judged or criticized for their writing. They might also realize they are each historians in their own right, and by writing daily they are recording their own history.