Educators introduce students to journal writing to encourage them to explore their thoughts and ideas. Journal writing for students engages them in the process of brainstorming and organizing their ideas. It teaches them to develop writing skills and become articulate, and it encourages them to share their ideas with teachers.

Definition

Journal writing for students is important for their academic and emotional development. According to Saskatoon Public Schools article, "Journal Writing," it is a tool that focuses on writing to encourage students to learn. It helps students keep records of what they know and connect their knowledge with new information. They can explore their perceptions of their surroundings and relationships. They dream and imagine about fantasy stories by developing creative ideas. They look into a variety of topics to improve their knowledge of the world.

Purpose

The purpose of journal writing for students is to provide them with a non-judgmental space. Journal writing is different because it is a classroom assignment that does not need to be graded. It helps students focus on a topic that they are learning, reflect on what it means and make their thinking perfectly clear. They can jot down words they cannot define, important experiences, thoughts and emotions, and significant facts.

Types

Teachers can assign journal writing for students who are learning various disciplines. Personal journals are about individual topics of interest that show their thoughts, feelings, and opinions. They can let teachers read them if they want. Art journals let them complete sketches, try new media and keep a record of their art-making process. Dialogue journals allow the teacher and students to write about each other's entries. They help them build a strong, open relationship. Science journals give them a place to track their response to observations during experiments. Reading-response journals have them discuss their thoughts on books and creatively respond to them. Math journals are for students to look back over theories and clarify their ideas.

Benefits

Teacher Laura Black at St. Mary Elementary School in Winchester, Massachusetts, says that her students progressed significantly from journal writing, Education World reports. Black states that they got over their fears of writing and built up monumental confidence. Journal writing lets students focus by getting them into the routine of daily writing. They have nothing to fear because their writing is not graded and scrutinized. It also helps teachers develop relationships with students who trust them to read their thoughts. Students might find that they begin to enjoy writing and want to do it more often.

Topics

Many teachers supply students with writing prompts, sample topics, to jump start the creative process for their journal writing. They give them a quote to examine, a question to react to or a thought to complete. They typically use the prompt at the beginning of class and have the students write freely about the topic for a set amount of time each day. Examples of prompts include having students discuss the one person dead or alive that they would meet and asking them where they want to be in 20 years.