Learn why journaling is important for middle schoolers and discover some journal topics that will stop the cries of “But what do I write about?” for good.
Many times, middle school learners have a set routine where they learn grammar & vocabulary, read a chapter of a book, or write papers reviewing what they have learned. Is it any surprise that so many of them dread English classes? Why not give them something that will support them put those grammar & vocabulary lessons to good use, teach them to create for themselves and give them a great habit that may just last a lifetime? Journaling can be downright addictive, even for intermediate schoolers, if it is done right.

Creating a Thriving Journaling Unit

The first thing to consider before you give your students a journal writing assignment is what they will be writing their assignments in. If you are handing out those old-fashioned marble covered notebooks, encourage your students to spend a class period decorating them to make them unique. Writing in an artistic, creative journal is very different from scribbling down an assignment in an ordinary notebook.

Next, think about ways to get your learners who dislike writing involved in the journaling project. Encourage them to create illustrated entries or even to create Manga episodes for the entries. Just because their journaling appears in little boxes within illustrations, it doesn’t mean that they haven’t written a very interesting and grammatically correct entry.

Finally, make sure you set some guidelines ahead of time. Remind your students that you will be reading the entries each week and that they should consider neatness, grammar and spelling. Set content guidelines, as well. For example, you may want to warn them to keep their entries free of four letter words and excessive violence. Suggesting that the students consider whether an entry would make it into a PG movie may help them keep their journaling appropriate for a school setting.

Teen Journal Topics

Once you have your journaling unit organized, it is time to consider journal topics. Encourage your followers to come up with their topics, as well. Sometimes, they have wonderful ideas. A few topics that work well for teen journaling are:

What would you do if you were transported back to the Middle Ages? Keep in mind that there are no modern conveniences, such as televisions, grocery stores, or sterile operating rooms.
If you could visit any place on earth, where would you go?
Which super power do you wish you had? How would you use it to do good?
You just won a thousand dollar shopping spree to your favorite store. What would you buy?
You woke up in the midst of the woods. How did you get there? How will you get back home?
You were marooned on a desolate island with three useful things and one completely useless thing. What are they and how will you use them to survive?
Which person, living or dead, do you admire the most? Why?

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