Interested in getting your students to talk about their journal writing with another? Shared journaling is a personal, engaging, and educational opportunity for students to get to know others and to become more comfortable discussing their own ideas. This exercise promotes both discussion and reflection and is a great way for kids to connect on a deeper level.
Have your students work with a partner (we’ve prepared prompts for students to work with their friends, classmates, siblings, or parents). Each partner should spend some time writing an individual response to the journal prompt.
Once both writers are finished, they should trade journals and read what the other one had to say. Then, ask them to discuss their responses and to share their thoughts with one another. You may even have them write a brief journal response on the experience when they are finished, answering questions like: “What did you learn?”; “What was similar about your response and your partner’s response?”; or “How did it feel to have someone else read your writing?”.
Use these shared journal prompts to get your students sharing their ideas with one another and to help them feel more comfortable with the idea of expressing their opinions openly. Shared reflection and writing is one of the best ways for students to learn more about others—and most importantly, to learn important new facts about themselves.
Shared Journaling Prompts
With a Friend
1. When did you first know that we were destined to be great friends?
2. What is one thing that you wish other people understood about you?
3. What is the most important quality for a friend to have?
4. How do you handle conflict when you have a disagreement with a friend?
5. Write about your favorite quality about yourself.
6. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
7. What is your greatest goal in life?
8. What annoys you more than anything else?
9. What is the greatest feeling in the world?
10. Write about your ideal weekend. Be as detailed as possible. Where will you go? Who will you spend time with? What will you do? What will you eat?
With a Classmate
1. Write about something that your partner probably doesn’t know about you.
2. What is your favorite part of the school day? Your least favorite?
3. Write about your family. Who do you live with? Do you have any pets?
4. What is your favorite hobby or activity?
5. Write about a time when you were scared.
6. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
7. Where do you want to go to high school or college someday?
8. What do you like most about our school?
9. If you were the President of the United States, what law would you put into place?
10. If you were an animal, what kind would you be?
With a Sibling
1. What is your favorite memory of our childhood?
2. What do you like best about our house?
3. If you had to trade a chore with me, which would you choose?
4. Where would you like to go for our next family vacation?
5. Which one member of our extended family would you like to get to know better?
6. What is your most beloved possession?
7. What is your favorite way to spend a day?
8. In what ways are we similar? How are we different?
9. Write about a time when something I did upset you. How did you feel?
10. What is one thing I could do to improve our relationship?
With a Parent
1. What is your greatest dream?
2. Write about one way our family could help someone less fortunate.
3. What is your favorite family activity?
4. What is unique about our family?
5. Who is your best friend?
6. What is your greatest fear?
7. Write about your clearest childhood memory.
8. How do you know when you’ve achieved one of your goals?
9. Write about your favorite family meal.
10. What is the coolest thing you’ve ever done?
Hey parents, here’s a wonderful article for you entitled, What is Positive Parenting? A Look at the Research and Benefits. This article provides a highly comprehensive compilation of evidence-based positive parenting techniques. Check it out today!
More Shared Journaling Prompts
Bonus Journal Share Articles from Our Archives
Bonus Article #1 — The following article was originally published in September of 2011 on this blog.
SHARED JOURNALING BETWEEN A BOY AND HIS MOM
Communicating with children has become more difficult for parents in recent years. With hectic work and school schedules as well as the advancements in technology, television, and gaming entertainment many parents are finding it difficult for their child to open up to them.
As a parent, it is your goal to provide comfort and advice for your children and let them know that you are available for anything that they need – without judgment. Journal Sharing is opening the doors of communication between young boys and their mothers.
Journaling has been long known as a way for children to open up about their feelings and the events of their life. However, the kid’s journal provided through Journal Buddies is slightly different.
With the boys journal, a mother and her son can take time each day to communicate on a deeper level. Each entry page is set up with four different sections. The first is listing three traits that each buddy likes about the other. The second is a quote or motivational phrase of the day. The third section is where you can focus on a word of the day with your child and finally, the fourth section is where thoughts can be written down. Journal Buddies is continuing to change the relationship between a mother and her son for the better.
Here is a success story about how beneficial Journaling can be:
“My oldest son and I have been using the journal a couple of times a week and we’re really learning about each other! At 13, he’s a little older than the recommended age, but I don’t see that he feel this stuff is too young for him. I have a little guy who is nearly three and he has taken a lot of my time from my oldest since he was born. Having the journal is a way to show him a little extra attention, even if we’re not together!
Here’s how we use it: He’ll start a new journal entry, then leave the book sitting somewhere that I’ll find it (the last time it was on top of the coffee maker – he knew I’d see it there!) Then, when I get a few minutes, I’ll read and respond with my own entry. I also hide it in places where he’s sure to find it – wrapped up in his bath towel, under his pillow, or in his underwear drawer. It’s a special little thing that is just for the two of us – a rarity nowadays!
We have grown much closer in the past few months. And I know that, especially at this crazy time in his life, he feels comfortable bringing up subjects that most 13-year-old boys would be horrified to talk to their moms about (he just writes them down!)”
Awhhh… every time I read this journaling share story it just warms my heart. 💜💜💜 I hope it does the same for you.
When done properly, journal sharing can create a safe zone for a mom and her son.
Bonus Article #2 — The following article was originally published in January of 2010 on this blog—
Shared Journaling: A Powerful Quality Time Activity for Parents and Kids
Becoming self-aware and sharing our discoveries about ourselves is a skill that takes practice. It is also an essential skill for building and strengthening one’s sense of self-esteem.
Parents are the perfect helpers to assist their daughters and sons in mastering this vital life skill, and journaling is a perfect and powerful activity to help children become more self-aware and self-confident.
Most exciting of all is that this quality time journaling activity for parents and kids facilitates self-awareness and build self-esteem in the process. Plus it’s wildly fun too!
So what is This Journaling Activity That’s Guaranteed to Help Parents Help Their Kids to Improve Their Self-Esteem?
It’s journal writing mixed with creative expression that is co-created and shared with loved ones. Wow… That’s a mouthful!
With this innovative approach to journaling, kids and parents are encouraged to work together as a team and to write, draw, cut, paste, and create in their own unique journaling styles.
Most notably the journal is not kept secret. Rather it is shared openly and lovingly and becomes a powerful tool of communication that facilitates a deep and meaningful connection with your child.
Journal Buddies is all about helping your child become more aware of the characteristics you value in her or in him.
Shared Parent/Child Journaling Activity Outline
There are four simple steps to this shared self-esteem building journaling activity. The steps to this exciting journaling method are:
- Schedule a specific block of time for you and your child to spend some time together without interruption. A minimum of ten minutes is highly recommended.
- On a sheet a paper or in a special journal book, list three qualities, traits or talents that you admire about your precious child and record them on the first journal page.
- Now it’s your child’s turn to pick three qualities, traits or talents that she admires about you. Record what she says about you on the same journal page where you recorded what you admired about your child.
(Special Note: For steps 2 and 3, try to pick new qualities, traits, and talents each time and not to repeat any choices that have already been used.)
- Journal together using creative journaling. Write, draw, cut and paste and get creative in journaling together. Remember, this activity is about co-creation and cooperatively journaling with your child
Oh and as an added benefit, upon completion your shared journal becomes a cherished keepsake – a treasure chest full of super great things that you and your child love about each other that you both can reflect upon time and again for years to come. How exciting and precious is that?
Here’s to spending quality time with your child.
Ok, that’s all for now. I hope you found value in these resources and articles from our archives.
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Until next time, write on…
creator and curator