Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Works For Me: Journaling with kids

My daughter loves creative writing. This year we've decided to journal at home every day when she gets home from school.

I found some cute, themed bulletin board cut-outs. The theme I'm using now is fish. Every day before she comes home from school, I write a topic on a Post-it note, stick it to the back of the fish, then tape it somewhere in her room. When she comes home she has to find the fish.

Using the Post-it note makes it easy to recycle the fish. You could use any shape or cut out that you have designed yourself. My daughter loves the ocean, so fish was an obvious choice.

Be creative and silly with topics. It doesn't have to be prize-winning. Anything that can be a springboard for creativity is key.

Examples to get started:

"What I Did This Weekend"

"My favorite (you fill in the blank) is ..."

"If I were any animal, I would be a (blank) because..."

Other ideas:

1. Give your child guidelines and goals, depending on age. Five sentences may be enough for your child, or too much. As their writing improves, they will naturally add sentences on their own.

2. If your child is a perfectionist or over-achiever and gets stressed out easily, limit their journaling time and tell them the journal entry does not have to be complete. The entry is not an essay.

3. Make sure journaling stays fun and does not become overwhelming.

4. Encourage them to journal the same time every day.

5. Let your child pick out the journal. An inexpensive composition book works well. Have them decorate it with stickers or drawings.

6. As their writing progresses, mix up topics and writings styles. Introduce poetry or ask them to write a joke or song.

7. Don't grade them. Use the journal to monitor their progress without them knowing it! If it becomes a graded assignment, it's no longer fun.

8. Creative journaling is different from a diary. Be sure they know you will be reading their journal.

9. Journaling isn't limited to writing. Encourage your child to draw or illustrate in their journal.

I've found that journaling helps with penmanship, spelling, grammar, as well as creative writing. The more kids write, the better their writing becomes.

Journaling is also a fun way to peek into the mind of your child and see the world through their eyes.

One more thing- Be sure to date and keep them. They are real treasures!

For more tips, visit Shannon.


Kirstin said...

I like that idea. I may try that with my girls for homeschooling

Tammy said...

I'm so glad I happened to come by tonight, because I loved these ideas!
I've always been a writer at heart, and my girls love to make up stories, too...but as I've just dove into our new curriculum year with home schooling, I've been focusing on their books only. I'm going to try some of these story-starters for extra fun school work...thank you!

It's been awhile, hasn't it! Hope all is going well for you, Melanie!