Assign this journal task when you have some new vocabulary words to introduce, perhaps new vocabulary from a story or chapter you're about to read.
Set the Stage:
What I say when assigning this: "Students, today you need to imagine that you're hoping to been hired as an illustrator for the soon-to-be-released 'Mr. Stick's Illustrated Dictionary.' This dictionary will feature a Mr. Stick illustration that accompanies each word's definition. In addition to an illustration, this dictionary will celebrate all words' etymology (language of origin) and related words.
"You may want to make some rough sketches of your vocabulary sketches on scratch paper before doing a 'final draft' for your journal's pages. If you have a rough draft sketch, you can place it underneath your journal page and trace it.
"I, of course, am expecting all words be spelled correctly, since this is a dictionary."
One of my eleventh graders--Allison S.--had a great section in her mythology that focused on eponyms (words that came from proper names from mythology). Below is one of the pages I Xeroxed from her journal. We did study eponyms from mythology that were a bit more common than the two words below (herculean, titanic, tantalize, etc.), but I felt this was a great example that showed my students really looking into interesting words. If you click on it, you can view it larger so you can print it on an 8.5" x 11" page.
I'm Looking for more Samples:
If you use this Mr. Stick journal task with your students (grades 4-12) and end up with an example that you believe I can feature here, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am especially looking for samples on topics other than mythology! If you photograph/scan a journal page that I end up featuring here, I will send you one of the NNWP's Print Publications as my way of saying "Thanks!"