Dear Amazing Teacher,
Why do Language Learners need to journal write? The more students write, the better writers they become* - and practicing writing is especially important for language learners. Regular journal writing benefits Language Learners because they -
+ are free to make mistakes so they take risks in their writing
+ improve their syntax, morphology, vocabulary, and spelling
+ improve their writing fluency
+ improve their writing confidence**
What do you get in this download?
+ 10 pages of unique and engaging journal prompts
+ each prompt is accompanied by original whimsical and explanatory art that helps the students comprehend the prompt
+ information on ways to introduce, model, and assess student journals
+ research on the benefits of journal writing for language learners
What are the characteristics of journal writing for Language Learners?
Even though I provide you with 50 journal prompts, journal writing for Language Learners should be unstructured, less concerned about spelling and conventions, and not usually graded (although it is fine to expect students to participate and count the number of journal entries students have completed over a grading period or semester). You may allow students to choose their own topic instead of the prompt.
Journal writing always includes personal commentary and reflection. Encourage students to use first person “I” and write about their thoughts and feelings.
It is important to provide feedback. Feedback is usually about the content of the student’s writing, asking them about something they have written or responding to their ideas. It can be overwhelming to respond to 35 journals especially if you have students journal write a few times each week. I suggest taking home 5-7 journals a night to respond to so it does not demand too much of your time. The benefits do outweigh the work!
Journals are typically private and you can decide how private your student’s journals will be. I suggest that you tell students that the purpose of the journal is to get them writing, that you will periodically read and respond to their entries, but will not show them to other adults or children (unless there is concern for their safety). You may want to tell students that if they have written a particularly private entry they they can fold the page over to the binding and you will pass over that entry.
Students can glue the prompt into a dedicated journal notebook and should write for 10-20 minutes. Explain the prompt and any unfamiliar vocabulary. Encourage them to use the picture cue to understand the prompt. Model writing in your own journal at the same time your students do!
* Routman, R. (2012). Literacy and learning lesson from a longtime teacher. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
** Casanave, C.P. (2013). Journal Writing in Second Language Education. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.