Shared Journals

I'm popping in today to share with you my love of shared journals.  I love, love, love them! 

I have used these themed journals in my classroom for the past several years, and I really can't imagine not using this resource in some way, shape, or form.

What are shared journals?
Shared journals are a fun, and meaningful, way to encourage students to write.  Students take turns writing in the journals.  Over time, they can read the stories in the journals and continue to add new stories to them.  One thing I have learned is that my students love to write stories for their classmates to read, and they really enjoy reading their classmates' stories.

How do you use them?
There is no right or wrong way to use shared journals in your classroom.  Like most things, it is a resource that you can easily use to meet your needs!
  • I have used them as part of my writer's workshop.  When a student finished his/her assigned writing, he/she could write in one of the journals if they wanted to.  
  • I most recently used them as a fast finisher activity.  I set the journals out and whenever students had free time, they were allowed to write in them.
  • Some people use them as part of their Daily 5/Centers program.

What if a student hasn't finished his/her entry?
If a student starts a story but isn't able to finish it with the time he/she has, have them mark their page with a sticky note.  Show them how to place it on the page so that the note sticks out the top and write their name on it.  This lets readers and future contributors know that the author is still working on that page.

How many journals should I put out at once?
This is completely up to you.  It helps to rotate the journals throughout the year to help prevent burnout with any single themed journal.  Place a few different journals out at a time and rotate them every few weeks/months.  If you set too many options out at once, students get overwhelmed.  And, if you keep them out for too long, your students could grow tired of the topics.  I like to place 2-3 out at a time and rotate through the different themes every few months or so (or whenever I can tell my students need me to).

Do you write in the journals?
I sure do!  And, I highly recommend that you do too!  You can do this as often as you'd like, but I will tell you that when you do, your student will go crazy. They love to read what the teacher has to say, and it is very motivating for them!

A Few Tips and Tricks 
  • Be sure to keep the journals in an easily accessible place.  You want your students to use them, so don't make it difficult for them to get to the books. 
  • Be sure to review your expectations before implementing shared journals in your classroom.  Remind them to use nice, neat handwriting. Encourage them to use their spelling dictionaries.  And, explain the importance of reading over their own writing before deciding they are done.  Doing this will help to ensure a more valuable experience for all of your students.

The beauty of shared journals is you can manage them and use them however you like.  It's one of those resources that allows you to encourage your students to read and write, but allows you the flexibility to use it to best meet your needs.  You can find the journal covers shown in this post here.

Happy writing!


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  1. These look so great! I love the idea of shared journals!

  2. OMG this are SO cute! I am in love! I would so use these during work on writing! I tried shared journals last year but didn't do a great job! This would be perfect to get my kiddos motivated to write! If I don't win, they are in my cart already!

  3. I would use the shared journals as a literacy center, but allow my kids to choose them throughout the day if they wanted to.

  4. We have "quiet time" every day where kids get to choose any activity they want to do. I'd place these shared journal covers in the "quiet time" corner as one of the activities.

  5. I would LOVE these! My kiddos would get to write in them when they finish their daily work. Thanks! Wendy 1stgradefireworks

  6. What I love most about these is that everyone is writing about the same topic, but each story will be highly individual. I can see that these would be some of the most-often checked out books in our room, too! Fingers crossed!

  7. What I love most about these is that everyone is writing about the same topic, but each story will be highly individual. I can see that these would be some of the most-often checked out books in our room, too! Fingers crossed!

  8. What a fun idea! I might use them during Daily 5 or use them as you suggested for early finishers!

  9. I would use them during D5. I am so glad I got to enter before the day is over...this is what planning time is for, right girl?

  10. Love this idea! They would be great to have available for kids who get done with their other work early. And, I know the other kids would love to read what their friends wrote about!

  11. I love these! They would be great for early finishers or when a student REALLY wants to share a story.

  12. I love these! They would be great for early finishers.

  13. Oh, my! I can't believe I didn't think of doing this. Now I can put all those journals to use, and they will look cute.

  14. I would use these during Work on Writing time and keep them in our classroom library for my students to enjoy. Love this idea!

  15. I would use these during our class writing time and later they could become part of their free choice writing day. They are so cute!

  16. The covers are so cute!! I think they would be great for encouraging the kids to write more. I hope it doesn't matter that I follow your blog by e-mail instead of google.

  17. These covers look so cute! They look like a great way to get kids to write more. Thanks for sharing!

  18. These are amazing. I would love to use these for work on writing and they could chose which one to use and then I would have them share with the class. They are adorable.

  19. This would be a lot of fun, and my second graders would be practicing writing without thinking about it as another "assignment" great idea and thanks for the chance to win!
    sherii at cfl dot rr dot com

  20. I LOVE this idea and would NEVER have thought of it on my own! I am definitely going to use it as an early finisher activity! How long to do you leave each journal out for them to write in?

  21. Ok... these are seriously adorable and genius! :) Fabulous idea!!!! Thanks and can't wait to scoop your journal covers up!

    Just Keep Teaching


I'd love to hear what you have to say!