Journals and Logs


Record observations about class pets, plants, activities, or trips in a log or journal. Use journals in all academic areas.

The Role of the Educator Is: 

  • Help students find personal connections to the materials they study in classrooms and textbooks
  • Provide students with a place to think about, learn, and understand the course materials
  • Allow students to practice concepts before testing
  • Let students connect the active process of the content with the active process of writing

What Observers Will See: 

  • Journals at several places around the classroom and school
  • Books related to the topic clearly set up near the journals
  • Students in groups or individually reading and writing in journals
  • Educators demonstrating, discussing, and promoting writing through journals

How It Works

  1. Use notebooks for journals or logs
  2. Have students write the first entry in their logs
  3. Encourage students to date each entry
  4. Make sure students write often
  5. Try to write comparable amounts
  6. Don't correct grammar, but do ask for clarification
  7. Include log entries in evaluations of students' progress

Classroom Applications

In math logs, educators monitor classroom behavior, monitor comprehension, assessing attitudes, predict performance, reflect on performance, and reinforcing positive math behaviors.

Schleper, D. R. and Paradis, S. J. "Learning logs for math: Thinking through writing." Perspectives in Education and Deafness, (November/December 1994).

"Every time a new unit begins, the students begin by listing what they know and what they want to learn about it. In one primary classroom, the questions concerned caterpillars:

  • When will the caterpillars become butterflies?
  • How do we get a caterpillar?
  • Are some caterpillars deaf?
  • How do we know if a caterpillar is happy or not?
  • Can we take some caterpillars home?

Each of the questions was written out and placed in a bucket. Time was set aside for students to pick a question from the bucket and begin to research its answer. They recording their findings in the journals. When the class got together as a group, we discussed what we learned from the journals."(Schleper, D. R. "Journals and Logs: Science, Conversation, and Writing." Perspectives in Education and Deafness, 17:5, (May/June 1999).


The Literature Journal
By Charles C. Welsh-Charrier
Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, Gallaudet University

Journaling: Engagements in Reading/Writing and Thinking
By Karen Bromley

Expanding Response Journals In All Subject Areas
By Lee Parsons

Reading Response Logs
By Mary Kooy and Jan Wells 

A Good Place to Start

The use of journals and logs-both student-to-educator and student-to-student journals-in all subject areas is critical for development of writing skills. 

Supportive Research and Descriptive Literature

Hartman, M. "Making sense of math through writing." Perspectives in Education and Deafness, 12:3, (1994).

Parsons, L. Response Journals Revisited. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers, c2001.

Schleper, D.R. "Journals and Logs: Science, Conversation, and Writing." Perspectives in Education and Deafness, 17:5, (May/June 1999).

Schleper, D. R. and Paradis, S.J. "Learning logs for math: Thinking through writing." Perspectives in Education and Deafness, (November/December 1994).

Schleper, D. R., and Weinstock, J. S. "Deaf and Proud: Empowering Students Through Learning Logs." In Conference Proceedings-Deaf Students III: Bridging Cultures in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Continuing Education and Outreach, (1993), 135-143.

Welsh-Charrier, C. C. The Literature Journal. Washington, DC: Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center at Gallaudet University, c1991.

This site was supported by federal funding. Publication of this material shall not imply approval or acceptance by the U.S. Department of Education of the findings, conclusions, or recommendations herein. Gallaudet University is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, hearing status, disability, covered veteran status, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income, place of business or residence, pregnancy, childbirth, or any other unlawful basis.