Here is a journal entry from a young 4-year-old. He drew his picture and then dictated to the teacher. The teacher wrote his words on the opposite page in yellow marker. He then traces the yellow. This helps him practice holding the pencil and the correct way to form the letters. It also teaches him left to right and top to bottom order of writing.
This journal entry is from a 5-year-old student. He drew his picture and dictated to the teacher. Instead of the teacher writing his words in yellow she drew lines for each word. The student then had to write the words on his own on the lines. If the word was one of his sight words he had to spell them correctly by looking in his sight word book. Otherwise he had to spell them phonetically by sounding out the word.
This journal entry is also done by a 5-year-old student. He drew his picture and then wrote the words on his own.
I usually do journals on Fridays and those students that don't attend school on Friday do their journals on Thursdays. But as the end of the school year approached the students had been asking to do their journals more often. I wasn't going to argue.