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To Grade Journals or Not??

Language Arts | Writing 


Full Member
I teach fifth grade Language Arts and I am not sure if I should take a grade on my students' journals or not. What do you do?? I am thinking that I should not grade journals because it is where the students practice the strategies we are learning. I would love your feedback.


Senior Member
grade them

Every thing that's important enough for them to do is important enough to get credit for doing it. It could be a completion grade, which has the advantage of creating an opportunity for an easy "A". Find a way to make grading them easy on yourself, or it becomes completely overwhelming.


Senior Member
I give a "completion" grade. I spot check them weekly and grade them based on whether or not they are actually writing (complete sentences, ideas, etc.) I do not mark grammar or worry about sentence structure, but the purpose is writing. If they are there and have 15 min, they should have a seveal sentences minimum, with thoughts about one subject (either the one that is in the prompt or one of their choosing). I do not accept random words, repeating the same sentence multiple times, or drawings, etc. I also teach fifth.


Junior Member
I grade it for effort, following directions, and completion. I don't collect it regularly, only once in awhile. I count it as a big part of their "Effort" scores on their report card.


Full Member
JOurnal grading, only my thoughts

I don't grade them. I would conference with them and talk about it. Journal writing is a learning process and that doesn't need to be graded. I only score final published pieces.


Full Member
I don't grade...

I give the students a journal prompt daily. I just want them to practice getting their thoughts down-just like you'd have to practice a sport or an instrument. I do collect 5 or 6 a day. I read them and write a brief comment about what they wrote to acknowledge the fact I'm reading it (not about spelling, punctuation, complete sentences, etc.) .

I guess I should change my name!! Ha Ha!


Senior Member

I do grade journals. They get 10 points a week just for doing it, writing to the topic, and having enough sentences to make it worthwhile. It's an easy A for those that put the effort forth. I assign each student a day of the week and they hand in journals once a week. That way I only have to collect a few a day and makes it a little more manageable for me.


New Member
I'm also in fifth

What I do is, "quick writes" during the week. On Friday they choose one entry to elaborate on. This is what I grade. Must have correct grammer, good detail, imagery, etc.

7/8 teacher

Junior Member
I give a small completion grade for doing them. I did not look at grammar or spelling. I mostly look for effort that they put time into it.


Senior Member
I grade Bible journals and free writes as done/not done. I respond to the Bible journals, and I will write positive notes in the free write to point out things they did well, or pieces I feel have good potential and should be published. Occasionally I will give a specific direction in writing and I will grade on that only (ex:including dialogue between characters or use of precise verbs). There are a number of formal writing assignments that will be graded for all aspects at once following a 6-traits style rubric.