Young Minds Grow
This teachers' lesson offers tips on using Journey North journals to
inspire learning and assessment.
Many Journey North teachers have students use journals
throughout the season. When students use journals to capture and reflect on
observations, experiences, and data — and put forth opinions, predictions,
and theories — learning blossoms. Journals can also be great assessment
tools because they offer you and your students windows into their thinking,
understanding, and knowledge gaps. Finally, they can help you address pressures
to integrate writing into subject areas.
for Using Journals
How you use
Journey North journals, and which type you use, will depend in part on
your teaching and learning goals and on students' abilities. Here are some
questions to ask yourself (and, perhaps, the students):
do we want to capture in the journals? (Everything we discover about
a species? Our daily observations, predictions, and explanations?)
Should each one have a theme (e.g., habitat, seasonal changes,
or spring monarch migration)?
- Do we
want the content be open-ended, more directed, or some of both?
of the following will we reflect on and respond to?: Journey North
News Updates, Journal Questions*,
our own questions and observations?
we include data and observation sheets from
Journey North Lessons?
we include seasonal and migration maps for
tracking changes and making comparisons?
will we use the journals for assessment?
What kinds of questions will help us see how we've grown?
questions from Journey North
each migration and seasonal project, Journey North provides Journal
Questions in regular News Updates and on many Activity/Lesson
questions, which can also be used to spark discussions, help students
build and reinforce reasoning skills and understanding by asking them
to do the following:
- try to
make sense of data
out math, science, or mapping challenges
on Journey North experiences
creatively or make personal connections to material
their experiences and learning to new contexts
model the thinking process that scientists use, so students can begin
to think and act like scientists.