Creating a Student Journal: What are you reading, feeling, and learning?
In this time of virtual learning, many educators are dedicated to finding content that all students can access and participate in at home. It may sound simple, but why not start a journaling activity?
Have each student complete one page per day, divided into three sections about what they're reading, feeling, and learning. This can be used for any age, making prompts as complex or as simple as you'd like. Have students submit entries they're particularly proud of, for sharing with the greater class, and use all students' reading, feeling, and learning entries as opportunities to foster larger lessons and discussions with the class. It's crowdsourcing, for your virtual classroom!
What are you reading?
Require students to read at least one book (or chapter), online article (from a trusted source), or newspaper story per day. This can be a book from home, an article recommended by you, or a newspaper lying around. Ask them to write about what they read, and how it translates to their own life and past experiences.
How are you feeling?
At a time of uncertainty, this one is important. Students will need outlets to share their feelings, especially if parents in the household are working or away from home during the day. Writing about these feelings can often help students share in a safe way, and gives you, as their teacher, a mental check-in with them, to keep your emotional connection as a role model in their lives.
What are you learning?
As humans, we learn more than just one new thing every day - but some of those things stick with us more than others. For example, maybe your student learned a new fact about transmission of COVID-19, and how it can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard surfaces. Or maybe they learned a new song about the muffin man! Ask them to write about what they learned, and why that is important. Learning a new song (no matter how silly!) could be important to them because they memorized words and melodies to keep their brains sharp and minds happy, and learning new facts about viruses taught them more about what they can do to stop its spread.
Need recommendations for fun independent learning opportunities for your students? Check out our other posts on Global Awareness in the Classroom and Teacher Resources for Virtual Exploration for some field trips from the comfort of home!
Encourage creativity in these journals with markers, magazine cutouts, stickers, or whatever makes writing feel personal to them. At a time when we're all learning, use what your students feel and share to guide your curriculum and lessons for the days to come. Are a lot of students feeling nervous? Teach them a social-emotional lesson about courage. Are the students struggling with writing? Consider a writer's workshop lesson plan. We will all make it through this time together!
Have content you'd like to see from VariQuest, during these times of social-distancing in education? Comment below and your idea could be our next blog post!