Writing in journals is a wonderful habit for students of all ages whether at home or in the classroom. It is also a very helpful tool for parents, teacher and even the students themselves to gauge their writing challenges as well as improved writing skills.
Creating Monthly Writing Prompts:
One strategy for building writing skills is to provide an array of writing prompts that call for a variety of writing styles. While writing texts may cover different forms of writing from letters to compare and contrast essays, these texts often then move on from one style to another without a lot of re-visitation. In real life we are called upon to write for a “stew” of reasons and journal writing is an excellent way to keep the writing pot simmering with many hearty ingredients. Additionally, providing month specific writing prompts that relate to seasons, holidays and likely activities will provide some extra spice for student writing.
Journal Writing Prompt Ideas for January:
1. Write a letter to Mr. Bear and tell him what has been going on in the forest while he has been hibernating.
2. Write a letter from a family of birds to their human neighbors asking for some assistance over the winter.
3. What year will it be in ten years? How old will you be? Write a letter to yourself for ten years from now.
4. Marvin C. Stone invented the drinking straw on January 2, 1888. Is the drinking straw an important invention? Why or why not?
5. January is National Soup month. Write directions for creating your favorite soup, real or imaginary.
6. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a famous speech that began with “I have a dream…” Write your own “I have a dream…” speech.
7. Compare and contrast the four seasons, detailing at least one positive and one negative about each season.
8. Write a rhyming poem about snow.
9. Write a non-rhyming poem about football.
10. Imagine that Mrs. January has never been able to stay around and meet Miss February. Write a letter to Mrs. January introducing her to Miss February. What would they have in common? What is special about Miss February that might be interesting to Mrs. January?
Methods in the Madness
Other than clearly calling for a variety of types of writing, these writing prompts may seem arbitrary or even silly yet there is method to the madness of creating writing prompts. These examples call for writing across the curriculum including math (a soup recipe and a letter to yourself in ten years) and science (comparing the seasons and considering the needs of birds in winter). Additionally, letters to Mr. Bear and Mrs. January will review writing titles and the letters to Mrs. January about Miss February continues this review but also practices writing the names of the current and upcoming months.