About This Teaching Strategy
A journal is an instrumental tool for helping students develop their ability to critically examine their surroundings from multiple perspectives and to make informed judgments about what they see and hear. Many students find that writing or drawing in a journal helps them process ideas, formulate questions, and retain information. Journals make learning visible by providing a safe, accessible space for students to share thoughts, feelings, and uncertainties. In this way, journals are also an assessment tool: you can use them to better understand what your students know, what they are struggling to understand, and how their thinking has changed over time. Journals also help nurture classroom community and offer a way for you to build relationships with your students through reading and commenting on their journals. Frequent journal writing also helps students become more fluent in expressing their ideas in writing or speaking. Below, we describe some of the many ways you can use journals as an effective learning tool in the classroom.