Journals are different from diaries. While diaries imply privacy and embarrassment, journals record events, activities, and feelings that can be shared with others. They provide:
- a safe ground for experimenting with writing.
- raw material for writing assignments.
- a way to learn to write clearly.
- a way to share written communication.
Use small journal books that will be filled quickly. It is motivating for them to “turn in” their old journal for a new one. Encourage students to write daily. Set aside time in the day for journal writing. Allow a few minutes after any major events for students to write (ie: a rainstorm).
Extending the lesson
Consider having students donate their journals to an historical society in a sealed “time capsule” to be opened in fifty years. Make the event ceremonial by inviting the newspaper to photograph the journals being donated to the historical society.