What is the purpose of a summer journal for a teen? From an academic perspective it is a way to begin the next school year with some extra credit points. Teachers want students to keep reading and writing through the summer months. Journaling is a great way to accomplish this habit that was introduced in school all year long. They have to write and they go back and read to categorize and make a table of contents by themes. Overall, it is a simple way to keep education going in the right direction.
Most often in the classroom the student is given the choice of writing on the daily topic provided or title the page and write about a topic they are interested in. The students are required to make a table of contents that list the dates and topics. Teachers often do random sweeps through the journals to determine what changes need to be made.
It is not important if the journal is handwritten or digital. The entire exercise is about reading and writing, not the medium that is used. It is about continuing a habit that has already been formed.
Some teens don’t bother to use any prompts that are not mandatory, others never step out on their own unless it is mandatory. This means that there must be enough prompts for everyday. That’s a whole lot of prompts. It may be easier to explore some categories to get the process started.
One category of prompts are simply the beginning of sentences that are waiting for a story line. The interesting thing about these kinds of prompts is that there is often a wide range of topics that come from the same sentence root. The different trails taken can be used in the classroom to teach about perspectives. Here are some examples:
-Yesterday I heard …
– Ice cream should be outlawed because …
– My best friend should not have…
– This morning on the news I heard …
– This is a waste of time because …
– Everything would be different if …
Another option would be topics that require the teen to look up and do a little research. It is still a quick write, but require some reading as well. Some of these may be
– What happened on this very day 20 years ago?
– These three famous people are having a birthday today.
– Every day has a bizarre holiday, what is the bizarre holiday for today?
– How many people on the US Census have your name and how does that make you feel?
Creative writing is another area where some students really excel. Here are some ideas that may spur creative writing.
– You are stuck in the elevator with a scary stranger.
– You can change the color of grass – what color would it be and why?
– There is an extremely large caterpillar that has attached itself to your hand.
Once you get the hang of coming up with prompts you will find it is not extremely tough. You can also ask for ideas from other parents if you run short.