Structuring 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 4: Introducing and Structuring Classroom Journal Writing

·      Basic Writing Principles That Support Journal Writing

o   Writing Is Thinking

§  "Showing students how their journal can be a container in which they can observe, sift, sort, and grab onto ideas (often fresh ones) can do much to alter their beliefs about writing and improve their final product (p. 50)."

o   Practice Builds Fluency and the Motivation to Write

§  "Journal writing helps students internalize the concept 'writing is thinking,' and then be motivated to write to find breadth, depth, and creativity embedded in their thinking (p. 51)."

o   Students Value Journal Writing When It Is Fully Integrated Into Course Objectives and Structure

·      How to Communicate Journal-Writing Expectations

o   Write About Journal-Writing Expectations in the Syllabus

§  "Besides a written description of journal writing in the syllabus, you can show how specific course objectives are accomplished through journal writing (p. 52)."

§  "By making an explicit link between the course objectives and journal writing, the instructor shows the importance of the journal in the overall scheme of the class (p. 54)."

o   Introduce and Discuss Journal Writing in the First Class

§  (I wrote a note to myself that had only two words: arrogance and power. But I cannot figure out my thinking here. I need to go back, reread this section, and see if I can figure out my thoughts.)

o   Use the Journal During Class

§  Tell Students to Bring the Journal to Class

§  Provide Sample Journal Entries

§  Write in Your Journal When Students Write in Theirs

§  Use Quick-Write Lecture and Discussion Reflections

·      "The journal serves as a rehearsal stage for students with varying learning styles who may not be accustomed or comfortable with dynamic, interactive classroom discussions (p. 59)."

§  Use Write-Pair-Share

·      "Write-pair-share is a valuable classroom activity that expands the opportunities for all students to think and talk about course content with another student (p. 59)."

§  Assign Peer-to-Peer Dialogue Journal Entries

·      Different Ways to Format Classroom Journal Writing

o   Journal Format: Outside

§  Computer programs for journaling: One Note, Scrivener, MacJournal

§  Bound Book or Spiral Rings

§  Loose-Leaf Pages in a Binder

§  Electronic Journal

o   Journal Format: Inside

§  Table of Contents

§  Numbered Pages

§  Double-Column Method

§  Pages: Grid, Lines, or Blank

§  Professional Side and Personal Side

§  The "Decorated Page"

o   "Another key element in the successful introduction of journal keeping is telling students how you will give feedback and assess their journals (p. 73)."

·      Conclusion