For years, teachers have encouraged their students to journal because the act of daily writing encourages self-reflection and promotes better writing skills. However, when shared with friends or family members, journaling is also a great way for students to connect with the people around them. Read on to learn about the top four benefits of shared journaling exercises.
1. Learn More About Others
Working with a partner on shared journaling prompts is a fantastic way to learn something new about the other person. A blank journal page gives the writer permission to truly let out his or her thoughts and emotions. Though it is important to make sure that journaling partners are comfortable sharing these thoughts with one another before they begin writing, the exercise is a good way for students to get to know one another. Even a pair of best friends who think they know one another like the back of their hands may be surprised by some of the new details or ideas that come out through journaling!
2. Get Feedback on Writing
Because many teachers use journaling as a way to teach better writing skills, working with a partner on shared journal prompts is a good way for students to get feedback on their work. Teach students how to give thoughtful, constructive feedback without being critical of the ideas or emotions that are shared. Encourage students to ask for more detail where the journal prompt is vague or unclear, and make sure your students know to tell one another which elements they particularly enjoyed of their partner’s work!
3. Feel More Comfortable with Sharing
Though some students might be a little uncomfortable sharing their writing at first, many kids will quickly learn to feel much better about sharing their work with another student or family member. Your students may be self-conscious about their work or thoughts when they haven’t had the chance to see anyone else’s writing—however, the opportunity to see what another student had to say will help kids find the similarities in their writing and their thought processes. In no time at all, many students will shed their doubts and feel more open in sharing their ideas.
4. Connect in New Ways
At the end of the day, journaling is still a very personal activity. Even when the student plans to share his or her work with a partner, opening up in that way requires trust and an understanding of confidentiality that binds the partners together. Your students will find new ways to connect with their partners as they begin to share deeper thoughts, feelings, and ideas than they may be used to discussing. Nurture this development by encouraging kids to continue pushing deeper in their writing and to ask one another questions about what they’ve shared.
Whether students share their journaling exercises with a friend or a parent, the act of mutual writing and shared reflection is a great way for kids to connect more deeply with the people in their lives. Check out the Journal Buddies list of shared journaling prompts for exercises your students can complete with their classmates and loved ones.