is Journal Writing?
writing is a learning tool based on the ideas that students write
to learn. Students use the journals to write about topics of personal
interest, to note their observations, to imagine, to wonder and
to connect new information with things they already know.
is its purpose?
journals fosters learning in many ways. Students who use journals
are actively engaged in their own learning and have the opportunity
to clarify and reflect upon their thinking. When students write
in journals, they can record such things as ideas and feelings,
special words and expressions they have heard, interesting things
that have happened to them or information about interesting people.
Journal writing offers students opportunities to write without fear
often associated with marking. Every journal entry is individualized.
do I do it?
can be used throughout the day, at different times of the day and
for different purposes.
what type of journal you want to use in your classroom. Think
about the purpose of the journal and how will you use it.
materials. Your students' journals may be looseleaf notebooks
or folders. Individual pages should be contained in some way so
that they are not lost over time.
initial entries. Using an overhead projector or classroom chart,
work together to write a sample response. Students can copy the
class response in their own journal or write one of their own.
time for regular journal use. Students are all engaged in the
act of writing and this enables individuals to generate ideas,
observations and emotions.
you should not grade or correct the writing in journals only
finished pieces should be used for grading you could comment
on your students' writing. Offer suggestions, constructive remarks,
questions, and encouragement whenever possible. Sometimes students
will respond to the teacher's comments.
of the biggest problems with writing journals is that some students
use them simply as a way to record the day's events. They slip into
the routine of writing diary entries without reflection or real
purpose. You can reduce this by encouraging your students to write
about a variety of topics and take what they feel are the better
entries and develop them into finished pieces.
offer students the opportunity to reflect on their world and expand
their awareness of what is happening in their lives. For many students
journals become a rich source of ideas for writing.
can I adapt it?
are several variations of journals that can be adapted to fit the
needs of the classroom.
These journals allow students the freedom to write about their
feelings, opinions, expressions and about topics of personal interest.
If they wish, students may share these entries with others.
Dialogue journals are conversations in writing. Most often the
conversation is between the student and the teacher or classmates.
These journals are interactive - the two conversation partners
comment on one another's entries. These conversations encourage
students to express themselves in thoughtful and informal ways.
These journals are used to capture students' reactions to books
and to track their reading. The entries might include questions,
comparisons, evaluations, letters to characters, predictions and
comments on style or mood.
The goal of writing in mathematics is to provide students with
opportunities to explain their thinking about mathematical ideas
and then to re-examine their thoughts by reviewing their writing.
Writing will enhance students' understanding of math as they learn
to articulate their thought processes in solving math problems
and learning math concepts.
Writing science journals could be a great way for the teacher
to have a better understanding on how the students are thinking
about the science lesson. Science journals are a way to incorporate
personal ideas with observation and interference. Students can
express their opinions with every experiment. Encourage students
to write questions about process or outcomes of explorations.
They can use drawings, diagrams, data charts and graphs.
art journal gives students a place to plan, to gather resource
and research materials, to do preliminary drawings and to experiment
with media; in short, to explore and document their personal creative
processes. On a very basic level, it helps students keep all required
and exploratory material together.
& Evaluation Considerations
journal can be used as a reference file to help the teacher monitor
individual development and progress. Entries should not be evaluated
as finished products. The evaluation of journals should emphasize
the content. While each journal is unique, good journals share the
of developing self-awareness
between personal experience and new information
journal is like a good friend who is never too busy to listen.