Independent Journal Pages

So the one thing we did accomplish in this whirlwind of summer school was learning our new journal pages that we will be using next year. I’m really excited about them and my kids were doing great working on them independently.

How I typically run the start of my morning is by doing two morning groups (or circle times) divided by level (one for lower functioning students with more matching and manipulatives and one for higher functioning students with more reading/writing). It works great but you have to make sure to have some beneficial and meaningful independent work for the other kids to do while you are running one of the groups. It can’t just be busy work but also can’t be too hard that you need to keep running over and helping them. Last year we started independent journal pages and it went really well. For next year we added a few more components.










I copy these pages double sided and make enough copies for a month or two so you don’t need to worry about refilling them each week. These go in the kids’ binders behind their schedule and calendar.


  • So the top part is pretty basic. Write the date, weather forecast, temperature, what’s for lunch (my kids check the lunch calendar that is posted in the room), and the special (art, music, gym, etc.). I added the homework part since that is something that can become part a troublesome part of our morning. The expectation for some of my students is that they turn in  their homework on their own and get a new homework packet for the next day. However this doesn’t always go perfectly as planned… So I added this little visual reminder so they can physically check each item off the list. This is a great and easy intervention for kids with autism.
  • The next part is the daily sentence. I write a sentence with several spelling and grammar mistakes and the students need to fix them. I’ll explain my funky grading system below and why there is line for correct and incorrect.
  • Our new addition to the journal sheet is the 5 questions. Answering questions can be very challenging for children with autism so the extra practice is always needed! I posted the pocket chart with questions. I made a TON of questions – all different kinds – so I could switch them up each day.








  • Next is the journal topic. I post a new picture each day and the students need to write 3 sentences. Right now I’m use a box of journal prompts from lakeshore. But I’ll probably start using photos of the kids and pictures that are going with unit themes during the year. You could use any picture really!
  • Last is the word sort! My school using the Words Their Way curriculum for spelling and phonics. I put the previously mastered word sorts in a hanging file folder and switch them up a few times a week. The kids do the word sort and then write it. 

So that’s it! This takes my kids about 30 minutes and I feel like it is well-used time! My guys did really great with all the updates and I think they will be completely independent in the fall.

So… my crazy grading system! My kids had a really hard time understanding grades and correct/incorrect and how that related. We need a way to talk about getting things right and wrong in a concrete way. So we keep track of ‘correct points’ and ‘mistake points.’ After the kids do the journal page independently, we correct it together at morning group. If they get something right they mark a tally next to correct point and if they get something wrong they mark a tally next to mistake point. This gives a real visual to understand how your mistakes effect your grade. We keep a conversion table up front to transfer the points to a grade. This works out great for us and I think my kids definitely understand it.

Here is download of the front and back of my journal page in case you want to use it with your kids!:

Journal page 1

Journal page 2


  1. I really love this idea. I teach ALE (Life Skills) for HS and this year I am teaching English, LA, and Reading. I want to incorporate a writing center and this is perfect. Since this will be brand new to my students, I may have them work on one section a day for the first few weeks as a group. Thanks for the downloads.


  2. I’m happy it’s helpful to you Kandi!

  3. Is the daily word sort part of the grade on that page or just the task above.

  4. With your higher functioning students that complete the A.M. routine, what does your morning meeting consist of?

  5. Hi I was wondering what word list you use for spelling or do you just use your vocabulary as spelling as well?

    Thanks, Stephanie

    P.S. I love your blog. I am so grateful I found it! It has helped me improve my classroom so much!!!!

  6. Hi Sasha! Great blog!! What does your low functioning kiddos do during INDEPENDENT work while your high functioning kiddos are in morning group? Thx.

  7. Thanks! They work with the aides on fluency and some other IEP goal work! Check out my schedule:

  8. Thanks so much, Sasha. I found you on TPT. I loved your 180 Questions and Prompts. I plan to use that soon and I adapted your journal pages for my lower level ESL students. I will introduce that next week. Can you direct me to information about your Daily Word Sorts? Spelling and Phonics?

    Do you use ? It’s good for spelling practice.

  9. Hi Sasha! Do you have a list of questions you use for the daily questions you’d be willing to share?

  10. Thanks Sasha! I’m teaching in a DTI classroom in CT. Although I’ve been a SPED teacher for 9 years I’m new to the district. Your web site is WONDERFUL and you’ve given me some great ideas for next year. Do you work on inferencing with your students? If so what are some good basic and intermediate steps? I’m stumped with writing a written response set item list and program for one of my kiddos. She needs to start writing her responses for the WH questions (excluding why right now) and I also need a way to keep data that will demonstrate her progress for the para and I. Any thoughts?

  11. Hi, could you let me know where you buy your display resources to set the journal activities up? Thanks, Sherina


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