Journal Writing in the Classroom

Stevens, D. D., & Cooper, J. E. (2009). Journal keeping: How to use reflective writing for learning, teaching, professional insight, and positive change. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Chapter 5: Classroom Journal - Writing Techniques

·      Eight Useful Classroom Journal-Writing Techniques

o   Freewriting

§  "In addition, it builds fluency through the practice of not editing while generating ideas in their raw, undeveloped form. Freewriting also develops a student's unique voice and can be the source of fresh and often surprising ideas (p. 79)."

§  "The power of freewriting lies in putting words, any words, ont eh page without criticism. Fresh, original ideas are often hard to find; yet freewriting, with its lack of constraints, encourages, supports , and even cheers the production of words in whatever form (p. 80)."

§  Freewriting at the Beginning of Class

§  Freewriting at the End of Class

§  Freewriting as Homework

o   Focused Freewriting

§  "However, the focused freewrite is different because the topic is selected before the students start to write. To begin a focused frewrite, ask students to write a guiding question or a topic on the top of the page (p. 81)."

§  Focused Freewrite to Develop a Term Paper Topic

§  "A follow-up from the focused freewrite might be to have students read what they have written; select various tidbits of information, questions, and so on; and arrange them into a to-do list or a concept map on another journal page (p. 83)."

§  Focused Freewrite Before a Classroom Lecture

§  Focused Freewrite Following a Classroom Lecture

§  Focused Freewrite Following a Prompt

o   Lists

§  "Thus, a list 'objectifies' the task by taking it out of the brain where it is swirling around and setting it out on the page to be handled or checked off or prioritized and, for 'to do' lists, ultimately and best of all, done (p. 85)."

§  "When encouraging students to create lists, it is best just to brainstorm all items that could possibly be on the list. Creating a list through brainstorming can identify many and sometimes surprising things related to the topic (p. 85)."

§  Make a List of Brainstorming Ideas to Consider for a Term Paper or Project

§  Make a List of Responses to an Incomplete Sentence String

§  Make an Unprioritized List of Things to Do to Complete a Project

§  Make a List of Things Learned from the Lecture Today

§  Make a List of Prior Knowledge and Underlying Assumptions

§  Make a List of Concerns When Entering a Field Setting

§  Make a List of Goals or Directions for the Future

o   Log

§  Log Interactions in the Field

§  Log Dates, Times, and Activities of Small-Group Work

§  Log Subtasks Completed and Record Final Task Accomplished

o   Dialogue

§  "Dialogue enables students to distance themselves from other people, thoughts, feelings, and ideas; make them the 'other'; and then write out an imagined conversation with the other (p. 89)."

§  "Description of other 'voices' or perspectives in thinking is often a source of surprise and motivates students to write more, just to see what the other part is saying (p. 89)."

§  "Dialogue is natural for journal writing because much of journal writing can be a conversation with the self, parts of the self, significant others in one's life, or others we encounter in field or clinical settings (p. 90)."

§  Dialogue With Significant People in Course Material

§  Dialogue With Term-Paper Topic

§  Dialogue With Issues or Persons in One's Life

§  Dialogue With Contradictions and Conflicts in Thinking

§  Dialogue With Objects or Feelings

§  Dialogue With an Inner Mentor

o   Concept Mapping

§  Create a Concept Map of the Reading

§  Create a Concept Map of Students' Knowledge at the Beginning and End of Term

§  Create a Concept Map During the Lecture

§  Create Concept Maps of Chapter Content

§  Create Concept Maps of Key Ideas From the Readings and Lectures for the Week

§  Create a Concept Map of Ideas for a Term Paper

o   Metaphor

§  "Creating metaphors allows students to envision the objects or persons from a different viewpoint (p. 95)."

§  "Metaphor is the back door into deeper understanding of concepts taught in class and a way to understand the self through the extension of ideas in new directions (p. 97)."

§  Create a Metaphor for Course Theme

§  Create a Metaphor for Field Experiences

§  Create a Metaphor for One Aspect of Your Belief System

§  Revisit the Same Metaphor at Different Times

§  Create a Metaphor for an Aspect of Your Life

o   Metareflection

§  "Metareflection requires students to reread their journal entries generated over the term and write a reflection on what they notice about these reflections (p. 99)."

§  "By having students reread, review, and reflect on their journal-writing entries, they can see what they have learned, highlight successful strategies, and practice reflecting on their prior reflections (p. 99)."

§  "Recently we had a student who said he hated to reread his journal because he seemed so stupid. We asked him to consider the fact that once you write that page you can never write that same page again (p. 100)."

§  Note to Self: Metacognitive reflection with interviews?

·      Techniques to Encourage Students to Read the Course Material

·      Techniques to Improve Student Writing

·      Techniques That Foster Engagement in Service Learning Projects

·      Conclusion