There is an “oldie but goody” activity that students grades 3-5 can undertake as a summer learning experience...journal writing. Some families will travel abroad, some will take a few short trips within the United States, and some may not travel at all. Even if you don’t leave your state or city, there are still ample opportunities for one to write about daily/weekly summer activities. The great thing about journal writing is there are no restrictions with respect to length, format, or subject matter.Simply write about what you experience (good or bad). If you don’t have fun doing something, it doesn’t mean there is nothing to write about. Write about how you didn’t have fun or how the experience would have been different if you were able to control it.
The best way to optimize your journal writing is to decide how often you will write (I suggest a minimum of three times per week), and write at the end of each day while your experiences are still fresh in your mind. Below are some topics to address when reflecting upon your days of leisure whether traveling or staying in town.
1. Where did you visit?
2. Who did you go with?
3. Where did you stay?
4. What are things you encountered?
5. Did you see something you have always wanted to see? Something you had never seen before?
6. What is the best/worst thing to happen today?
7. Did you try food you had never eaten before?
8. Was the weather what you expected?
9. Did you learn something new?
10. Did the people you encounter speak a different language? If so, what language?
11. Would you like to revisit in the future?
12. Did you purchase any souvenirs? If so, what are they?
13. Did the buildings look different than where you live? Different style houses?
14. Did you see anything historical? If so, what?
15. What was the most amazing thing you saw during your trip?
16. Describe your surroundings (this is good if on a camping trip or at sleep away camp). What do you see, hear, smell, feel?
Questions are certainly not limited to the above list. Basically whatever you are thinking/feeling, write about it! Some students may find this activity more appealing buy add photographs or drawings to their journal. The photos can be printed and pasted on their journal page or a digital journal can be created using Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Presentation or a similar program.
Have you tried this activity before? Will you try this summer? Next summer?