Journal 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.
Using 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.
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.
The 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
The 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 following characteristics:
speculations and predictions
evidence of developing self-awareness
connections between personal experience and new information