Journal Writing Examples and Activities—
Journaling is one of the most effective and engaging ways for teachers to help students develop a true love of writing. While many writing activities will help students become stronger writers, journaling offers room for creativity and self-expression that formats like research papers and reports simply can’t compete with.
As a result, students who keep regular journals tend to be more in tune with their feelings, more comfortable expressing their opinions, and more skilled in forming logical, coherent arguments in their writing.
From daily writing prompts to gratitude journals, there are tons of creative ways to use journaling in your classroom. In this guide, you’ll find a variety of journal writing examples and activities you can use to introduce your students to this powerful practice—as well as a list of prompts they can use to kick-start their creativity!
One of our favorite things about journaling is how easily it can be personalized to suit each student’s individual experience. Some students will undoubtedly prefer to keep traditional journals that are effectively records of their days, while others will prefer a themed or guided journal that focuses on a particular topic or type of writing.
Journal Writing Examples to Help Students Begin
Here are some journal writing examples your students may enjoy:
- Gratitude Journal: Have students maintain a record of the good things in their lives and everything they feel grateful to have. Gratitude journals encourage positivity and are a powerful tool of self-reflection.
- Project Journal: Project journals are a great way to keep track of your notes and the things you’ve learned when you’re tackling something like a new hobby, sport, or even a major school assignment.
- Therapy Journal: Writing is therapeutic, and a therapy journal is a safe, designated space where students can explore their thoughts and feelings privately. Though therapy journals are often used in conjunction with a therapist, they can also be used and maintained on their own to improve and maintain mental health.
- Dream Journal: If students remember their dreams and are interested in learning more about their significance, encourage them to keep dream journals! A dream journal is a fun way to explore what goes on in the brain during sleep.
- School Journal: A school journal is a fun way for students to keep track of what they’ve learned throughout the year—and also multitasks as a fantastic organizational tool! Have students track their questions, assignments, interesting things they’ve learned, and notes about their own thoughts and reflections throughout the year. A school journal can help some students keep a to-do list to stay on track of assignments.
- Personal Journal: Personal journals (sometimes called diaries) are the typical “here’s what happened today” type of logs that most people imagine when they think about journaling. While this type of journal isn’t necessarily creative in its concept, it is an old-fashioned goodie! Students who love making memories and who are interested reflective writing will love this effective option.
- Collection Journal: A collection journal is a fun way to keep track of things that you find interesting or memorable, such as favorite quotes, song lyrics, or thought-provoking ideas. Use a collection journal to remember things you love and ideas you’d like to explore further.
Oh yeah. Now, have the students in your classroom grab their notebook and pens and get to journaling now.
Journal Writing Activities to Engage Your Class
The journal writing examples listed above are great tools to use throughout the year, but sometimes you also just need a quick activity to mix things up for the day! That’s where these special journal writing activities come in.
Use these activities in your class to engage your students in writing and to help them reflect on what they’ve learned thus far:
1. Journal Prompts
Many teachers encourage their students to keep daily journals that focus on what they’re learning or what they’ve been up to lately, but some students will always have an easier time writing when they are given a prompt. Journal writing prompts can focus on a wide range of topics and can be tailored to meet the interests of your students or current events happening around your school and community. Use journal prompts to get students who aren’t used to writing accustomed to regularly expressing their thoughts and ideas on paper.
(Scroll down for a list of prompts your class can use to get started!)
2. Stories, Poems, and Songs
Though journal prompts are a great way to help students begin writing, some kids are looking for a greater challenge or a new source of inspiration. For students who aren’t interested in sitting down and writing about their thoughts on a particular subject, encourage them to instead keep a journal of short stories, poems, or songs. Alternative forms of writing present students with a brand new means of expressing their ideas and their creativity.
3. Community Journals
Another great way to get your class excited about the power of journaling is to put together a community journal. Set aside 15-30 minutes each day for your class to work on the community journal together. Record anything you like—from what you all learned together that day to funny things that happened to various students and teachers. Each Friday, go through the journal together and encourage students to share their favorite moments or reflections from the week.
4. Revisit Old Journal Entries
Once your students have been writing for a while, take a day to have them turn back to the beginning of their journals and read their old writing. Revisiting old journal entries allows students to see how far they’ve come—in the quality of their writing, the types of subjects they explore, and how they’ve grown personally over the past few months. As they read their old writing, students will come to understand what a valuable purpose journals can serve in their lives.
Journal Prompts to Give Creativity a Boost
Though there are all sorts of journal writing examples and activities we love, guided journal prompts will always be our favorite! Use this list of writing prompts for students of all ages to kick-start your students’ creativity.
- Choose a favorite book that means a lot to you and explain why you love it so much.
- Describe your sense of humor. What kinds of things can always make you laugh? List examples.
- If you had the ability to do one impossible thing, what would you do? Why?
- What is the most exciting thing you’ve ever done? Use vivid details to describe your experience.
- In your opinion, what is the best way to help people who are less fortunate? Why?
- What is the best way to cheer someone up when they are feeling sad?
- What is your dream vacation? Describe where you would go, what you would do, and how you would get there.
- Write about a time when you made a big sacrifice simply to make someone else happy.
- Write about a time when someone did something for you that made you feel very loved.
- If you could be anything in the world when you grow up, what would you choose? Do you think this job is realistic? Why or why not?
Journal Writing Example Resources
- How to write plus journal entry example on wikihow
- See images of journal writing examples for kids
- Journal writing exercises by grade
- How to Write a Journal Entry Lesson Plan
One of the benefits of journaling is helping students develop a love of writing. The process of journal writing is deeply therapeutic and, most importantly, fun! From elementary to high school, we have prompts to inspire all students and encourage a regular journaling practice. You find loads of new ideas that will help make journal writing a part of their daily life!
Until next time, journal on…
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