4th Grade Journal Prompts

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 20 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

By 4th grade, students should be composing properly formatted essays. The format should focus on an introduction with at least three points, paragraphs to match up to the points and a conclusion. This lesson offers sample journal prompts for this age range.

Writing in 4th Grade

Fourth grade students should be focusing on writing full essays. It is good to get them to focus on the 'Magic 3' in writing: a good essay has at least 3 points and each paragraph should have at least 3 sentences. Students should be reminded to include an introduction (which identifies the three points for the essay) and a conclusion. That means each essay should be at least five paragraphs: Introduction, 3 paragraphs elaborating on points, and a conclusion.

Common Core Standards require fourth graders to write three types of essays: Narrative, Opinion, and Informative. This lesson offers a few sample writing prompts for each writing style. Information on each style is given for clarification.

Narrative - A Story

Narrative writing is storytelling. The stories can be real or imagined. The important thing about stories are the passage of time through the story (from beginning to end) and detail given for interest factor. It is crucial to remind your students of these important points when you give the prompt.

  • Congratulations! You've been invited to join your favorite TV family for one day. Write a story (narrative) about your day. Your day should cover 24 hours from beginning to end. Remember to include lots of detail to hold your reader's interest.
  • 'What did you do today?' asks your mom. Write a story that will walk your mom through your school day from start to finish. Don't forget to include all the little things you do in a day and use adjectives and detail to make your story interesting.
  • What book have you read lately? Write a re-telling of the story using as much detail as possible to make sure the reader understands what the story is about, what the struggle was, and how it was resolved. Remember to write the events in the correct order of the story.

Opinion - What You Think

Opinion writing is often in first person with the writer taking a stance on an issue and offering their own ideas. Sometimes, writers are asked to try to convince their readers of their opinion; this is called persuasive writing. Opinion prompts are specially geared toward the Magic 3 essay writing tip. Students should start with an introduction that clearly gives three statements about the issue. Then students should write (at least) one paragraph for each statement given in the introduction. Finally, students should conclude with a paragraph summarizing all the points and restating their opinions on the issue.

  • Which subject at school is the most important? Support your opinion using the Magic 3 essay writing tip (3 statements in the introduction, 3 paragraphs for the body, 3 sentences per paragraph). Don't forget to include a summarizing conclusion paragraph.
  • Do you like Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall best? Why? Write a well-written essay (using the Magic 3 essay writing tip) to convince your reader that your favorite season is the best.
  • Should students be given more time for lunch? Why or why not? Support your arguments using the Magic 3 essay writing tip. Don't forget you need an introduction with three points, one paragraph for each point, and a conclusion (and three sentences for each of these paragraphs).

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