Journal writing is an excellent exercise for students and even those beyond the classroom. The best way to improve reading skills is to read more and the best way to improve writing skills is as Nike says to (stop thinking about it and) “just do it.”
Today my teacher lesson plan book, The Ultimate Teacher’s Plan Book by The Mailbox (which offers two writing prompts per week) offered up this writing prompt: “Write about a special ability an animal has that you would like to have.” This was a fun writing prompt and I learned that apparently horses rule for young writers.
Many writing prompt books are available with general yet creative writing prompts. Still, I like to offer students writing prompts that are seasonally related to changes in weather, topics they are likely reading about in books, holidays and activities that they are likely participating in at the time of year. Writing prompts should vary in both topic as well as design, including descriptive writing, compare and contrast, how to guides, poems and fiction.
How to create unique writing prompts for each month:
To create unique writing prompts for each month, I begin with a brainstorming exercise called a writing web. A writing web is simply a circle that holds the topic with several legs shooting off for details. When I thought about December, a few of the things that came to mind were gift-wrapping, holiday cookies, migration, winter, snow and the basketball season.
Here are 12 journal writing prompts for December:
1. Describe five ways to wrap a gift without gift-wrapping paper.
2. Compare and contrast your two favorite holiday cookies.
3. Write a non-rhyming poem about migration.
4. Write a rhyming poem to welcome winter.
5. Describe why winter is, or is not, your favorite season.
6. Describe a homemade gift that you can make in one hour or less.
7. Write a story that includes “The snowman came to life when I put on the (fill in the blank).
8. James Naismith invented basketball when he was challenged to create a sport that could be played indoors in winter. Describe a movement game you can play indoors.
9. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer was different and able to use his unique ability. What unique abilities do you have and how do you use them?
10. Write a paragraph by finishing this topic sentence, “December is the last month of the year and I still need to….”
11. Write a paragraph by finishing this topic sentence, “In the new year I will finally…”
12. Describe the ideal way you’d like to spend New Year’s Day.