Do You Penzu?

This past summer I wrote a blog post about Penzu, an online journal that I wanted to try out this year.  Well, I started using the FREE version with my fourth graders last week and we absolutely love it!  My students are so much more engaged with Work on Writing during Daily 5 and beg me for extra time to journal during the day.  Several of them even write in their Penzu journals at home.

Penzu’s teacher version is $49 a year, and although it looks awesome, I just can’t justify upgrading when the free version works so well for us.  My students can change their font, text size/color, and upload their own pictures to their posts.  Here is a photo of my students hard at work during Daily 5.
Penzu: FREE online journal writing website. Great way to integrate technology and make writing fun for your students!

Here is one of my girls writing about our field trip to a plant conservatory.  She inserted a picture I took on the trip, which I shared with my class.
Penzu: FREE online journal writing website. Great way to integrate technology and make writing fun for your students!

I had originally written that each student needed their own email account to sign up, but it looks like they must have changed that feature because there’s now a “13 and under” option that just requires a guardian/teacher email.  (My students have their own email addresses so that’s what we used to sign up.) 

I want to stress that this site is private by default, which is comforting knowing my students’ intimate thoughts can’t be viewed by the public.  If anyone has tried Penzu or does in the future, I would love to hear about your experiences.:)


  1. Thank you for posting about this! I will have to check it out. Looks great!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  2. This looks like a great tool, Kristin! Thanks for posting about it as I've never heard of it before!

    Miss V's Busy Bees

  3. I am looking forward to checking this out. Thank you for posting about it. :)


  4. Can't wait to check this out!

  5. I've been trying Penzu with just my school notes (not with students yet) for the past few weeks, and I really like it so far. I didn't use the free version because it didn't give me access to the iPad app (which I think absolutely STINKS, by the way!). My referral code got me one free year of Penzu Premium, and that's when I started using it heavily. I love the tagging, encryption, and multiple notebooks feature. The only thing I don't like is that sometimes it's very slow to update/save/change pages, even when I'm on a fast internet connection. I'm worried that I might lose something. :-/ Has that ever happened to you?

    ~Mrs. K. from The Teacher Garden Blog

    1. Yes, the other day it was slow, but that was the was the only time I've had trouble with it. (We've only been using it for a couple weeks though.) Maybe since it's new they still have some kinks to work out. Please keep me posted, especially if/when you start using it with students.

  6. I love the idea of Penzu! It looks incredibly kid friendly and engaging! I can't wait to try it with my first graders!

    Learning to the Core