Students need the space to be creative. Sometimes, the classroom isn’t enough. They have so many ideas that the amount of time that you provide, which is mandated by a structured school system, is not enough to get all those wonderful thoughts down on paper. Students need a creative outlet and a tool to capture those ideas.
Early on in my teaching, I realised that if I gave a journal to a student who had demonstrated a deep level of creativity then I could foster a stronger relationship with that student and allow them to explore their own creative mind.
Once I have seen that the students creativity stands out, I provide them with a writing journal. I tell them that they can write whatever they like into the journal: quotes, song lyrics, poems, short story or even a concept for a novel. My only condition is that I get to see what they are writing, so that I can guide them in the right direction. Sometimes, students might say that they would like to keep it private; in this case, do not read their writing. Remember, a journal is a personal tool and does not always need to be shared.
Every week I provide them with feedback. On your reflection of their work, you can provide them suggestions about what to write and how to write it. You can talk about style and structure. You can often books to read that remind you of their writing. The options are endless.
The goal here is to get the student to write and generate a deeper love of the writing process. With a writing journal, students are provided with validation and encouragement. They are offered the chance to explore, making mistakes and discover new thoughts. The journal captures the growth of the student, tracking how their writing has developed.