Who, What, Where – Structured Journal Setup

Categories: Language Arts

Those pesky wh- questions. They sneak their way into almost all of my academics. They rear their ugly head in my social skill groups. They even get in the way of functional skills. Dang. Really must mean they are important. One area that we target wh- questions on a daily basis is in my mid-level reading group’s daily journal. This incorporates communication skills and writing skills into one simple activity.

Adding in structure and visuals is key to getting your kiddos successful at creating detailed sentences that answer these essential questions – Who? What? and Where?

The Autism Helper - Morning Group
Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 12.23.35 PM

Our Leveled Daily Work incorporates this structure:


This structure allows us add detail to our sentences and practice answering wh- questions. After students complete their sentences, I ask them Where did the sleep? Who was sleeping? What is the cat doing? I ask them out of order and mix it up everyday sot hey have practice discriminating the questions.



  1. Thanks for the great ideas! I have trouble helping my student learn how to use time words correctly. We do yesterday and tomorrow with the calendar, but they get things like before lunch or after lunch all messed up.). A few kids end up with meltdowns because they can’t express themselves so I can understand. Are there any good visuals to help? I don’t have boardmaker. I’ve tried drawing pictures, but it really hasn’t helped.

  2. Lisa, you should check out Lesson Pix! It’s $36 for a yearly subscription, which makes it waaaay cheaper than Boardmaker. I use it for most of my visuals!

  3. Hmmm… do they have a visual schedule? That may help understand the order of events within the school day.

  4. Love Lesson Pix – great suggestion 🙂

  5. Sasha,
    Thank you for all your posts, great ideas and TpT store products! I have some graphic organizers I have developed for use with my students. They are used during our journal time, and also helpful in collecting writing data. I would be happy to share!


  6. I’ve been doing sentence writing and journaling during morning group this way for a couple years. It’s the best. I purchased your leveled morning work during the last TPT sale and started using it this month at ESY. I love it. It’s been great for our “morning work” at ESY, where I have kids on multiple functioning levels.

  7. Sounds awesome, Sue! Would love to see them 🙂

  8. What do you suggest for kiddos who only repeat what you say when you ask “who/ and what” about something? I’m sure you are going to say visuals but how would you set something like this up? Any suggestions would be awesome! Thanks!! 🙂

  9. Haha – yea probably visuals or if they read use the written word. Or try errorless learning and after you say “Who is in the garden?” you immediately point at the woman in the picture and say ‘woman’ and try to get the student to only repeat woman. Does that make sense?


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