Family Journals

This lesson introduces Family Message Journals—a teacher-tested tool for encouraging family involvement and supporting writing to reflect and to learn. The teacher introduces journals by demonstrating the process of writing a letter. Children are then led into composing through guided writing and finally independent writing of messages that they will bring home for family (or others) to read and write a reply. Messages focus on classroom learning and activities in which children have participated at school. A letter to families is included so that they understand what they are expected to do with the children's daily journal messages and why. This activity is an effective tool for developing narrative writing, as well as, reinforcing student learning. While journal writing is a creative process, using a statement such as "Today I learned..." helps students focus on their learning. Students also need to include transitional words.

Standards & Objectives

Learning objectives: 

Students will

  • begin to use writing for daily communication with families as a tool for reflection on school activities.
  • become more aware of readers' needs for clarity and legibility and how they can meet these needs.


Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: