We started journals in PreK -- the excitement is awesome!
In the past I have stapled paper together with a construction paper cover and a name card. This year I wanted something different, something more substantial, something they would cherish. I ended up at an office supply store and found composition books. The best part was that they were 'buy 1 get 1 free' -- so, for $5 my students get a special journal book.
We write in our journals everyday together (which was new for the kids -- we often do activities in small groups).We practice writing the date (just the number) at the top of the page each day. This is a great time to practice following directions -- open your journal to the first blank page, point to the big white space at the top, in that space write number 21 (the date for the day). The kids feel sooo important.
Students draw a picture -- any picture. If they can't think of anything to draw then I will help them brainstorm a list of ideas. Sometimes our ideas come from our weekly theme and sometimes I will give them a number (1-10) and have them draw that many items on their page (8 balloons, 2 friends, etc).
When their picture is complete, they try to write down the first sound they hear in the word. I've seen V for volcano, B for butterfly, C for car, L for lego, etc. In a couple more weeks, I will encourage a few of my students to write the next sound they hear. (phonetic spelling)
The journal is a powerful tool. They must keep them at school, but they may show their parents their work before or after class.
Try it -- it's fun!