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WT 065 Writing in Journals and Logs

Teacher Tips and Answers


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Writing in Journals and Logs

A friend is someone who wants to hear your stories, knows your dog’s name, and is glad just because you are near. Did you know you can have a writing friend? A journal wants to know all about your day and laughs at all your jokes. Your journal loves your dog as much as you do!

Starting a Journal

Choose a comfy place to write—an old notebook, a secret computer file, a special blank book. Then choose a comfy place and time to write—at the kitchen table after school or in your bed before you nod off. Tell your journal all about your day! (Start your own journal.)

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Writing in a Personal Journal

Writing in a personal journal helps you live life twice. You get to write about . . .

  • funny animals on the walk to school,
  • exciting adventures with family and friends,
  • secret hopes and dreams for your future, and
  • favorite foods, silly jokes, close calls—everything!

Write about the people you love.

John loved to talk with his Grandpa Frank. His favorite story was when Grandpa saw a UFO! John wrote about the experience and what he hoped might happen.

July 13

Grandpa told me that he and his buddies were driving back from working at Caterpillar late one night when he said, “Pull over!” They piled out of the car and looked up. A whole string of lights were gliding overhead. Everybody saw them. Then the lights stopped. They just hung there, looking down. Suddenly they faded away. Grandpa believes in aliens, and I do, too. I hope they’re friendly. I’d like to ride to their planet!

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Writing in a Reading Journal

A reading journal lets you write about the stories and books you read. What amazed you? What scared you? What characters are your favorite? What would you do if you were in the story? Your reading journal wants to know!

Look at what Josie, Tony, and Claire wrote about.

Sample Journal Pages

Volcano Blast by Marianne Kennedy

Noah and Emma are on an island in Alaska when a volcano erupts! Ash clouds fill the sky and rivers of lava cover the land. Vera and I acted it out, playing “The Floor is Lava” in our bedroom!


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

Mom started this book tonight. At first it was boring. Then they found a whole world in a wardrobe. It’s like a closet. I checked mine, but it’s just regular. I’d like to meet Mr. Tumnus.


Jane Goodall by William Rice

Jane Goodall went by herself to Tanzania to study chimpanzees. She made friends with them and gave them names. She called one Frodo. I would like to go to a Tanzania to study them, too.


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Writing in a Learning Log

A learning log is a special journal about the things you are discovering in class You can keep a learning log for any subject—math, science, history, reading, even gym. Writing deepens your learning.

Write about math.

Dave’s teacher asked her class to explain a math concept in their learning logs. Here’s what Dave wrote:

Jan. 12

When you say, “What is 4 times 3,” you really just mean, “What happens if you take 4 three times?”

4 and 4 and 4 is 12

4 three times is 12

4 x 3 = 12

Write about history.

Cheyenne’s class studied the discovery of the New World, and she wrote the following in her learning log.

Feb. 10

Columbus didn’t really discover America. He landed in Cuba and thought it was India. And people were already there. They discovered it long before him. People have been discovering America for 10,000 years.

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Write about science.

Aidan wrote his observations of the night sky, focusing on the Great Bear, or Ursa Major:

Oct. 2

I spotted the Big Dipper! It is also called the Big Bear. The last two stars in the ladle point to the North Star in the Little Bear.

Oct. 3

I read that arctos means “bear.” The Arctic is the “place beneath the bears.” So Antarctica is the place opposite the bears!

Tips for Writing to Learn

  • When you learn something new, write about it. You’ll remember what you learned, and you’ll think new thoughts about it.
  • Write questions, too! Questions open a space for learning. They make you want to find out more. Seek answers and then write new questions.
  • Write words and definitions. The more words you know, the more you can think.
  • Treat your log like a friend. Chat with it, trading new ideas as you discover them.
  • Draw pictures. For example, you could draw a picture of the Big Dipper and label the stars. Or you could draw Orion, whose famous belt is where new stars are being born!

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Lesson Plan Resources:

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Vocabulary List:
  • journal: place to write about your thoughts and feelings

Vocabulary List:
  • reading journal: place to write about what you are reading

Vocabulary List:
  • learning log: place to write about what you learn in a specific class

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