A sweet teacher emailed me and asked me if I ever used journals – and, if so, how? I do! I love easy journal activities!
In my room, we have two journals. One we use for our No Fuss Math Journaling and one we use for ELA. We don’t use it for major writing lessons, but for reader response, reading comprehension questions, story element summaries, and other similar things. But mostly, we use them for:
Quick-writes are great, easy journal activities for all age levels and if given enough inspiration – the kids really do write quickly. It provides a quick, daily practice for basic writing and grammar skills.
In fact, we do a lot of quick writes in class. Quick writes and complete sentence responses are also great during ELD lessons. One of the questions on the CELDT (California English Language Development Test) is to describe everything that is going on in a specific picture. This is actually a fabulous assessment for all students, regardless of language.
The point is, the kiddos are looking for details and utilizing complete sentences to
- Stay on topic
- Demonstrate mastery of sentence structure, complete thoughts, and proper punctuation.
Since those are common first-grade standards, the lessons work great for all of the kiddos.
Fun photos are my favorite things to use for quick-writing inspiration. Often I display a photo, then draw random names of students and have them tell me complete sentences about the picture. This method is perfect for Kinders and beginning of the year first graders. It is truly an easy journal activity!
As the kids develop their writing skills and speed, the kiddos are asked to write 3 (or more or less depending on the group) sentences about the picture. Upon completion, the kids trade the journal or quick-write with their partner. Their partner circles the capitals and periods and gives happy faces for proper spacing with their red pen. If all of the sentences make sense and are on topic, the partner also gives the owner of those sentences a SUPER SMILEY on their page… which is nothing more than a gigantic happy face. My firsties LOVE those huge happy faces and work hard to get them.
This is my Pinterest board where I pin a whole lot of fun writing inspiration finds. Please feel free to follow the board so you can use it with your own kiddos.
A lot of what I find is Photoshopped – but I don’t care. That just makes the photo more interesting, funny, and/or thought-provoking. I used to collect random pictures from magazines to show the kiddos as quick-write inspiration. But all off the fabulous things people put on the internet and share on Pinterest has made this job so much easier. Curating these wacky photos is a breeze!
Printed out – these pics are GREAT for the writing center/station/writing practice element of your literacy block. The little peeps love thumbing through the photos and picking ones to write about!
We use “My Journal” for all of our ELA journal activities, including the quick-writes. In fact, this is what we use for all of their independent writing that isn’t part of a major writing plan or final draft.
My Journal is a FREEBIE! It’s chock full of all kinds of goodies! I’m happy to send it to you. Just leave me your info below and I’ll drop it in your inbox.
Quick Writes Rock!
Quick-write is an easy journal activity that costs nothing to implement and can be as large or small of a task as you want! My kids love demonstrating and building their descriptive writing skills with this idea!
I hope you and your kiddos give it a try! It truly is a fun activity, a great time-filler and a fabulous task to leave for a sub to do with your kiddos, too!