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 a note from the teacher to parentsby Jennifer Cummings, M.Ed.

Creative Journaling for Students

Journaling has long been used in the classroom for expanding students’ thoughts about communicating with others. But journaling can be a fun, creative way to get your child into the habit of communicating their thoughts, even at home.

Journaling at home is easy to begin.

Make a production out of giving your child their own journal. It can be a pricy leather-lined volume, or an inexpensive spiral notebook. Whatever you choose let them decorate the cover any way they want.

Then, give them plenty of fun pencils, pens, crayons, colored pencils, and markers to write with. No one ever said communicating ever had to be boring! Then, have your child work on one topic per week.

To make it more interesting, have the entire family work on the same topic. Everyone can share what they’d like, but should never be forced to share. The only rule should be that you need to fill at least one page with good work (of course, more than one is great, too!).

Here are 52 different ideas to get your child (and you!) started on journal writing:

1. Tell the story of the best thing that EVER happened to you.

2. Draw your favorite animal living in your bedroom.

3. Why do you think the President is or isn’t doing a good job?

4. What makes your favorite teacher a good teacher?

5. What is the worst book you have ever read, and why was it horrible? Why did you read it?

6. You have invented a new toy that will make millions of dollars. What is it and how would you sell it to kids?

7. How would your life be different if you lived in another country?

8. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you meet and what would you say?

9. Draw an entire scene using only your favorite color.

10. Describe one object in the house without using its name. See who can find the object from what you wrote.

11. Imagine you are responsible for writing the answering machine message for your school (or work). What would it say?

12. A comedian has just asked you to write 20 jokes he can use on stage tonight. Can you do it?

13. Tell the story of the worst day you ever had.

14. Write a story that must include each of these words as least once: horse, paper, ice cream, computer, swimming pool, telephone, and watch.

15. The Yummy Co. Candy Company has asked you to design their new candy bar. What would it be and why should they sell it?

16. Should there be advertisements designed to sell stuff to kids? Why or why not?

17. You have $1,000,000 to spend in one day- but not on yourself. Who would you spend your money on and what would you buy?

18. Write a poem about your best friend without using their name.

19. List as many of the 50 states as you can in 5 minutes. Give yourself 5 points for each state you list. Add a bonus point for each state you spell correctly.

20. English has some dumb rules. What are 10 words that you think are spelled funny? How should they be spelled to you?

21. Draw a picture of the best gift you ever received.

22. Write a pen pal letter to your twin that has been living in another state, but that you have never met.

23. Make up 20 pairs of rhyming words, using words with 4 letters or more.

24. If you could go back in time, what would you most like to see or do from the past?
25. Draw your dream house.

26. Finish this story: “One day, Mr. McNulty left his house and saw an elephant walking through his front yard…”

27. Make a list of everyone you know that you have memorized their phone number. Give the phone number, too.

28. Design a new cover for your favorite book.

29. You have been paid $100 to write an article on your favorite hobby. Write the article you would send to the magazine.

30. Do you think ghosts are real? Why or why not?

31. You need to make a collection of 10 things that you own and are all related somehow. Draw the 10 things all together, then have people guess the “rule” that brings all of the things together.

32. Make a list of your favorite words to use when you read or write. Write each word in a different color.

33. Look in the dictionary to find 5 new words you’ve never head before. Write the word and their definition. Challenge people in your house to see if they know the words.

34. Interior designers design rooms for people. Pretend you are an interior designer and create a room for your favorite teacher. Try to make it something you think they would like.

35. Invent a new board game. Draw the game board and write the rules of the game.

36. Read One Fish Two Fish by Dr. Seuss. Draw a new type of fish you think should be in the book.

37. If you were principal in your school, what new rules would you create?

38. Write a movie review (like you would see in the newspaper) for a new movie or DVD you’ve seen.

39. Earth Day is in April. What are 10 things you and your family can do to help the Earth?

40. Draw a picture of you from a dog’s point of view.

41. Read the story The Three Little Pigs. Write a different ending for the story.

42. What are 10 things that really bug you about your sisters and brothers (or friends)? What do you do that you think bugs them?

43. If you could only have one toy, what would it be and what would you do with it?

44. Who is the person you most like to be with and what do you like to do?

45. What would you do if school (or work) was cancelled tomorrow?

46. You have created a new type of animal that has never been seen before. What does it look like and what is it called?

47. Write the words a new school spirit song for your school or job.

48. Draw a coffee mug that would be perfect for each of your parents.

49. Choose one of your favorite books. Then, choose a page and copy it into your journal completely backwards. Try to read it out loud.

50. Design your ultimate outfit. Write how you would describe it to someone who you were trying to sell it to.

51. You have found a genie that would give you three wishes. What are your wishes, and what negative things could happen with each wish?

52. Draw a portrait of yourself doing something you’ve always wanted to do.

Okay- so there they are- 52 different ideas to spark your creative juices. There is something for everyone, so give them a try! Give creative journaling a chance in your house and see what comes out. Guaranteed it will give your child practice communicating and give you all something to talk about around the table! Don’t be judgmental, just have fun!


Jennifer Cummings

Ms. Cummings, author, and editor of the Education and School Section, she has a psychology and an M.Ed. in special education from Framingham State College in Massachusetts. She was an elementary teacher in Massachusetts serving both regular education and special education students. She has taught grades 1,4, and 5.

"I believe that families' involvement in their child's education is one of the key ingredients to creating a successful school experience for children. Keeping parents informed about school-related issues helps parents and teachers work together for the best possible outcomes for their children. Learning together makes learning fun - for everyone!" - Jennifer Cummings. CummingsSchoolEducation and School by Jennifer Cummings, M.Ed. Creative Journaling for Students Journaling has long been used in the classroom for expanding students' thoughts about communicating with others. But journaling can be a fun, creative way to get your child into the habit of communicating their thoughts, even at home. Journaling at home is easy to...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids