Writing to Learn with Learning Logs
Short, ungraded and unedited, reflective writing in learning logs is a venue to promote genuine consideration of learning activities. This week, we offer a series of prompts designed to provide authentic writing experiences in any content area.
This Week's Tips
Pause To Write in Learning Logs (Monday)
Immediately following a particularly engaging activity, discussion, or presentation, pause and allow students to reflect in their learning logs or journals. If necessary, provide a simple prompt directing students to record their thoughts about or connections to the topic. Follow the “pause to write” with an opportunity to share (volunteers only) or a brief question/answer session.
Pausing to Paraphrase Solidifies Learning (Tuesday)
During a difficult lecture, reading, or activity, pause and ask students to clarify the idea by writing a paraphrase in their learning logs. Share a few student explanations aloud and discuss as necessary. This is an ideal time to clear up misconceptions.
Listening Response (Wednesday)
Before beginning an activity, direct students to divide a page in their learning logs into two vertical columns. In the first column, students should record a series of teacher-identified words key to the discussion, lecture or activity about to occur. During the discussion, lecture, or activity, students should record ideas relevant to the key words. A ready-to-use Listening Response handout is available for download.
Write Extended Definitions in Learning Logs (Thursday)
Following a lecture, discussion, or activity, ask students to write an expanded definition of the topic in their learning logs. Use definitions shared by volunteers to review the concept, and provide an opportunity for students to clarify their definitions following discussion.
Learning Log Swap (Friday)
Direct students to divide a page from their learning logs into two columns. In the first column, students should write a series of original questions related to a previously learned topic, skipping a few lines between questions. Then, students should partner, swap learning logs, and respond in the second column to their partner’s questions. Each team should then discuss the questions and responses, and ask for clarification from the teacher or class as necessary.