An interest journal is a composition journal that is shared within the class. It is used as part of a writing station or as an early finisher activity. I like to have 20-25 journals per year so that I have enough for every student to use one. Topics range from super heroes to science to farm animals and many more. I've also been known to add new journals during the year if there is something my students are particularly interested in like Lego Characters.
Get the journal covers here—>
How Do You Use Them
I keep my interest journals in my writing stations. Students use them once a day during our guided reading stations or they can use them as an early finisher station. You really have to train your students on your expectations for these journals. I leave up examples year-long of what I expect my students to do.
To help make keep this station independent, I also provide my students with a word bank at he beginning of each journal.
This is such a great opportunity to go cross-curricular while also giving students free-choice in their writing. I've gotten such great responses that I could never have expected out of a structured writing activity.
Here's a few of my favorites:
Magazine Interest Journal
A magazine interest journal is a specialty journal that takes a little more work on the teacher's part, but the students absolutely love it!! This journal requires students to inference what is happening in the picture and to write their inferences or a story to match the picture.
I have found that pictures of animals work the best, but really any kind of picture will work! In addition to animals, I try to clip food or objects that I think my firsties will relate to.
Step 1: Students select a magazine clipping from a basket I keep in the writing station.
Step 2: Students glue the picture into the journal.
Step 3: Students write their name and the date at the top of the page.
Step 4: Students write. I like to give them the sentence stem “I think _____” to help get them started.