Journal Writing is a great way to develop students' fluency and increase their comfort level with writing. You will want to establish a consistent routine for this. Here are a few questions to keep in mind as you establish your class's routine and goals for journal writing:
Why are we keeping this journal? What do we hope to achieve?
For how long will we write?
How often will we write? Daily? Weekly?
What will students write about? Will I give them suggestions, or let them write on whatever they choose? How closely will the journal be connected to other aspects of the curriculum?
How will I hold students accountable for their journal entries? How frequently will I collect journals?What sort of feedback will I provide--i.e., a simple checkmark or a brief comment in response? Will the feedback vary? Will I make any grammar corrections in students' journals?
Here are a few useful links with journal writing prompts:
CanTeach: Writing Prompts/Journal Topics: http://www.canteach.ca/elementary/prompts.html
Write Source: Writing Topics for Grades 1-12: http://www.thewritesource.com/writing_topics/
NY Times "500 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing"--click HERE or download the list from the Download Zone.
IN THE DOWNLOAD ZONE for Journal Writing: