In my advanced morning group, we have been working on writing "journals" for a couple years. My kids are now at the point where they can come up with 3-5 sentences about a topic on their own. So, this year, I decided to let my students work on their journals during an independent work time. We also switched over from using my journal template to actual notebook paper. Over the course of the year, I have started to notice some slip-ups in basic things such as spacing, sizing, punctuation, etc. These are things we have targeted in our direct instruction time, so I know my kids are capable of it. When they are left to work independently, they just go back to their old habits. So, in order to keep this an independent task, I created some "journal rules" for my kids to follow to ensure their journals are still good quality.
I love these, because, it allows students to remain independent and teaches them self-monitoring skills. Here is a picture of one student's journal before I introduced these rules.
And here is what his journal looked like after we discussed and posted the rules. Not quite perfect, but definitely an improvement!
You can get your copy of these journal rules FREE here!