I am always investigating ways to increase the incidental writing that i can get my students to do. As they get older many students begin to dislike writing, I think this correlates with the time that writing changes from writing a few sentences (K-2) into writing ‘text types’ with paragraphs. Last year when I had an all boys class, I was faced with two thirds of the class being very ‘anti-writing’. I had to try to promote as much incidental, daily writing as possible.
I had used journal writing in the past, but found many students had ‘writers’ block’ when left to write their own thoughts. Journal writing topics are great, I found a lot of ideas here. I developed a journal writing topic that gave the students the content for their writing. I linked this to social skills, cultural events, class topics and student interest and made sure that a range of writing styles and genres were covered.
To promote vocabulary, I used a ‘word of the day’ study and combined it with my journal writing. I created templates for the journal writing.
Click here: journal writing to access the templates. (NB: They are Australian based. Some fonts may not load if you are opening this PDF on a MAC)
As I had an all boys class, I did a little bargaining. One of the Journal Writing tasks I substituted for Journal Drawing. I gave them a specific drawing task as they all loved drawing.
Click here: journal drawing to access my journal drawing template. (NB: They are Australian based. Some fonts may not load if you are opening this PDF on a MAC)
This year I am back on a Co-Ed Class, and am continuing to use Journal Writing. I have added an Extension section, as I have a lot of fast finishers, and this can include the Journal drawing options. I have also created a handwriting activity to substitute for one of the Journal Writing tasks. This sheet gets stuck in our handwriting book not our journal, and the extension tasks continue our handwriting skills, with a social skills focus.
I try to do three journal writing/handwriting sessions a week with a word of the day. I don’t have my class on Tuesdays due to Assistant Principal commitments. Having only 3 a week gives me flexibility to move one around if changes occur, or if for some reason I’m not there!