Student reading or curriculum response journals provide a way for students to express ideas and opinions that contain self-expression, not the “correct answer” that the teacher wants to hear.
Journals can be anything from photocopies and bound pages to a cheap spiral notebook that students purchase at the beginning of the school year.
The student-purchased spiral notebook is the best option, because students learn a method for journal entry. The teacher just has to post a model of how a journal entry must look (minimum: date and name of selection, selection page number), and insist that students include this heading information.
Spelling errors, drawings, doodles are acceptable journal entries; but insist on uniform headings and tracking information when reviewing student journals.
And, set aside time for reviewing journals with individual students, or with small groups of students.
Allow students to edit (preferable with a different colored pen) while waiting for their review.
We include a journal page template for you to copy.