Lesson plan

First Grade Journals

Read aloud a hilarious diary written from the perspective of a spider, then use the story to launch your first grade journal writing. Students will love creating their very own writing journals.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to identify and write the letters that represent the beginning, middle, and ending sounds in a word.

(15 minutes)
  • Read the book Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin aloud to your class.
  • Ask students to reflect on what they learned about the main character (spider) in the story.
  • Briefly explain that a diary or journal is a place to write down things about your life and how you see the world.
  • Tell your students that today they will create their very own school journals.
(5 minutes)
  • Using a large piece of chart paper, model how you might write about something that happened to you last night. For example, “I made my favorite meal for dinner, sushi!”
  • Demonstrate writing each word and drawing a simple corresponding image.
  • Tell your students that they can write anything they'd like in their journals, because it is about their lives.
  • Explain that students can even write words they don't know how to spell yet in their journals, by sounding them out. If they listen for the first, middle, and ending sounds in a word, they can write each letter to represent those sounds.
(5 minutes)
  • Tell the class that you’d like them to each think about something that happened to them yesterday or today.
  • Ask students to pair-share with a partner what happened. Have students use lots of details.
  • Have a few students share out their stories.
(15 minutes)
  • Pass out the Writing Journal for students to write on.
  • Circulate around the room and provide support as needed.


  • Have more advanced students attempt to spell words completely as well as use additional sight words in their writing.


  • For students who need additional support with spelling words, provide them with an alphabet chart to help them match letters with their corresponding sounds.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask each student to share their journal page with a partner and point to the words as they tell their story.
  • Collect student work and glue them into student notebooks or attach to binders for students to add to on a regular basis. Use these notebooks or binders to note student writing progress over time.
(5 minutes)
  • Invite several students share their writing with the class.
  • Have the other students notice the details in the presenter's writing.
  • Remind your students that a journal can be written in daily. Tell everyone that the way to become better readers and writers is to write everyday!

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