Friday, February 4, 2011

How many ways can we journal?

Journal writing was something I strongly encouraged in my 4th grade classes (so many benefits). Some years we (me and students) would write in journals for 15 minutes at the beginning of writing class. There would be music playing and students knew that this was a time for thinking and working not asking questions. One year, I had students write in journals at the end of the day about things they had learned or things that had happened that day. Students had to share those journal entries with someone each night (in an attempt to avoid the "What did you do at school today" and "Nothing" conversations). My last year in a classroom, my students used blogs as "thinking logs" or as a type of journal. Journals can take many forms, and, as much as I like to encourage writing, they don't even have to be in written form.
I got to thinking about all the ways students could do journals after watching my 4 year old daughter walk around the house carrying a Flip camera. According to her she was making a video to send to a family member. When I started listening, I noticed that she was telling about her day, her toys, the weather outside, and a little about herself. Those are the things I remember writing in a diary or things my students wrote in journals. I guess my little girl was making a type of video journal ...
Realizing that caused me to think about the ways various technology tools could be used for "journals":
  • GlogsterEDU could be used to create "A Day in the Life" posters or even a "What happened this week" poster
  • Student created blogs could easily be used as a replacement for the spiral notebook journals in my classroom ... as a teacher, I used blogs to keep track of the things I tried in the classroom that did or did not work
  • The "A Picture Each Day" project many participate in could be seen as another type of journal ... pictures could even be posted on things like VoiceThread where narration could be added
  • Programs like Animoto or PhotoPeach could be used to pull together photos to be used as a visual journals
  • Interactive Timelines could be used used as journals
I am sure my short list is not very comprehensive. What other things can be used for journals?

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1 comment:

Marlo Gaddis said...

As a teacher, one of the best things about getting the students to journal throughout the year was going back through the journal at the end to see how students had grown in their writing and thought processes. A teacher in our district started blogging with her first grade students several years ago and was the first in her school to do so. At the end of the year, she shared her blog with other teachers during a collaboration session. It was AMAZING to see the growth. Spelling, grammar, punctuation, length of writing, details in writing all made fabulous progress! The next year, several other teachers started blogging too.