HAND LEARNING E-NEWSLETTER
Vol. 6, No. 5
FOCUS ON JOURNALS
(Part 3) Read
more: Part 1, Part
2, Part 4
Thinking about making science notebooks and journals more central to your
teaching this year? Here are a few more suggestions for making the most
of this important pedagogical tool:
• Give students a sense of ownership of their journals by allowing
them to retain control over their entries (to make changes, add pages,
etc.). In this way the contents of their notebooks will have personal
meaning to them and will more accurately reflect the progression of their
• Encourage students to share notebook entries with each other and
with the class so that students have the opportunity to learn from each
• Recording data, questions and observations is only the first step
in using the journal as a tool for inquiry learning. Allow adequate time
for students to interpret and to make meaning of the data they record.
Analyzing their findings allows students to come to conclusions, make
sense of what they have experienced, and reflect on what they have learned.
Interested in other helpful tips? See previous
newsletters for more suggestions.
What Journals Would You Like to Use?
We are considering expanding our catalog of journals to include subject-specific
books. These journals would have the same features that make our Field
Journal and Young
Observer’s Notebook such useful tools for inquiry learning:
• detailed and illustrated introductory overviews
• tables of content
• formatted pages to encourage writing, drawing, and questions
• rulers on the cover to take measurements
The new journals would focus children’s observations on exploring
specific places (the zoo, the art gallery), on technology (electricity,
hand tools), or on examining aspects of their own life (autobiography,
Do you currently use a content-focused journal? Would any of the ideas
mentioned above be of use with your students? What would you like to see
Take this opportunity to influence the development process:
• Email your thoughts and reactions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Provide us with your mailing address and we will send you a draft
version of one of these new journals for you to review and critique.
We appreciate the feedback. Thank you!
The First Hand Learning Catalog offers nature journals, hands-on science
kits, posters, and more. Go to http://www.firsthandlearning.org/catalog/catalog_frameset.html
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