1. Before class begins, write the following journal prompt
on the board:
is your day going? Write about all the things you have
done or experienced today, up until this moment. Then,
on how you feel about the events of your day. Or, write about
whatever is on your mind right now. Don’t worry about
spelling or grammar.
the class to take out their notebooks and write at least
a half page response to the
writing prompt. Give the class
approximately 10 minutes to write. Tell
the class that no one will read their journal entries
except you and
will stay in a safe place in the classroom.
After journal writing, ask the class how they felt about
the prompt. Some questions:
the entry easy to write?
was the purpose of this journal entry?
were you writing for?
Explain to the class that this is one type of journal
Ask the class to think about and identify
qualities of a personal journal
various purposes of keeping a personal journal
student responses on the board.
Continue discussion by explaining that there are two other
forms of journal writing which authors use.
the class to think about what are other reasons
why people keep journals,
aside from self-reflection. If students struggle with
this question, ask them to think about what kind
Da Vinci kept. Students should remember that Da Vinci’s
notebooks contained his scientific ideas, studies, and
numerous drawings of the human anatomy.
that for this scientific journaling, the
Dialectical Journal is a useful tool. Explain to the
class the format of the dialectical journal, and
it can be used in various disciplines.
by exploring the purposes and format of Creative
Journals with the class.
Now that the class is familiar with these 3 types of
journal entries, distribute the handout Match
the instructions with the class, and have them
each writing purpose with the appropriate journal type.
students answer the questions individually or
in groups, and collect this assignment for
may discuss the answers at the end of the hour (only
after the handouts have been collected).
1. Before class begins, write the following journal
prompt on the board: “Which journal type most
appeals to you: dialectical, creative, or personal
journaling? Explain why
you think this type of journaling best suits you.”
students to write their responses in their journals
for about 5 minutes. Then, you may wish to take 5
minutes and discuss
their answers to see why they prefer one type of
journaling over another. Explain to the class
that they will practice
using all three forms of journal writing over the
next few weeks.
After wrapping up discussion, explain to the class
that today they are going to focus on the dialectical
entry, which is the most flexible and can be used
in many different
ways. Ask the class to recall the basic features
of a dialectical journal entry: double-column format,
facts; right column contains your reactions, opinions,
the students explain what a dialectical
used for (to analyze and interpret information).
You may want to take 5 minutes and use an overhead
to fill out a dialectical journal entry.
Students will now practice writing dialectical journal
for a variety of purposes. You may
the following activity
in a variety of ways, but all students should practice
writing at least one dialectical journal entry
from the Dialectical
Journal Exercise handout.
Students may work independently and complete
all three entries during
class. You may also put
students into pairs and allow them to pick two
the three journal
entries to write. Another possibility is dividing
the class into three groups, giving each
group one of the journal
entries to write,
and then having each group present to the class
how they used the information to compose
process on an overhead projector.
Collect journal entries at the end of the
hour, and ask the class to explain in a few sentences how dialectical
journals can be used in their math, science, and social studies
select an article from a local or online newspaper on a topic
that interests them, and have them compose a dialectical journal
entry containing a summary of facts from the article in the
left-hand column and their reaction, opinions, and questions
on the article in the right hand column.