A journal contains students' thoughts, feelings and reflections on various topics or experiences. Journal writing is rarely done to communicate with others. It is used to explore ideas and to communicate with oneself. Journal writing is often referred to as personal or free writing. This activity is appropriate for writers at all levels of development.
- to use "writing" to explore ideas and record observations, experiences and understanding
- to encourage students to take risks in manipulating language and in structuring meaning
- to provide opportunities for students to reflect upon their growth and development as "writers"
- Ask students to construct their own journal booklets during playtime.
- Model journal writing for students, demonstrating the process of reflection, idea exploration and writing.
- Date journal entries or make a date stamp available for the students to date their own.
- Expect that the entries of emerging writers may contain more drawing than text.
- Encourage students to discuss specific journal entries during informal conferences.
- Review journal entries with students to identify their interests and concerns, their "writing" abilities, and the skills and knowledge needed for further growth and achievement.
- Create a classroom environment that stimulates thought and wonder, and provides students with writing ideas and topics.
- Respond to, and assist students with, the entries they wish to share.
- Understand that prior to "writing", students often need time to discuss ideas with peers, to draw or to contemplate.