This year, I gave my children time to journal during our Daily Five. This allows them time to write about topics of their choice. Some of their best pieces are in their journals!
I would also use their journals for brainstorming and to write some drafts in their books. You need to make it an expectation and part of your daily routine. Most children will not write unless you ask them to do it!
Just like everything, the kids are excited in September and then it dies down and forgotten about . Every month, I would put out some new pads of paper which would spark their writing. I also added some envelopes, writing templates, papers with borders and topic/idea lists. I always check the dollar bins at Target. Cut-out from the Ellison machine work well too!
Another thing that the kids love, is to occasionally share a favorite piece of writing. I have them pick out a piece to read at morning meeting. Next year, I want to make sure to check in more often on an individual basis with their journals. I will make it part of my Daily Five conferences.
I bought a bunch of different sized notebooks and let the children publish a piece in our "Class Journals." Each journal has a theme on the front cover. They can write a piece in their own journal and copy it into the Class Journal. The printables on the right were from someone's blog and I can't remember...Sorry!
I asked the kids to pick out something that I could take a picture of and share and
this is what I got this week...
Two of my girls wrote a poem for partners...so creative!
Lots of poems, stories, lists, letters, etc.
There are many lists of ideas for your students to use. Last year, I printed out the monthly journal calendars on Busy Teachers Cafe. See link below for an example of one...
This year I printed out the journal lists below in the fall (I had some of the same kids) and had them keep them in their writing binders. Next year my plan is to reduce any writing resources and put them in their notebooks in the back.
I printed these out in the fall and don't know from where...there are many others available on-line.
Laura Candler has many free resources...check out her site.
This is a great resource for using journals in the classroom...I have read it several times!
This book has some good mini-lessons and printables.