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Four Approaches to Journal Entries in the Classroom

Aug 30, 2007
The four approaches to journal entries discussed by Dr. Anne Ruggles Gere, Professor of Education and of English, University of Michigan are: learning development, artifact, expression, and social interaction. Furthermore, I will be evaluating these four approaches so that teachers can utilize them in their classrooms.

Learning languages and techniques will differ according to grade level. Only half of the population in schools today is above the national average in reading and writing. These statistics are available in major magazines and newspapers.

Much of the attention that the teacher needs to disseminate to students and parents today is academic. Everyone must know where the student is in terms of academic progress. But what about the much needed attention to what a student is writing on a daily basis?

A well rounded teacher, in my opinion, should be able to teach two learning languages simultaneously Similarly, teachers that deal with handicapped, special education, or learning handicapped, really have their hands full. Social skills and language expression can be defined through the teachers' high expectations to create a love for communication and writing.

Each student must take responsibility for their opinions while at the same time participating in cooperative group projects like the writing process, editing, and proofreading. These all promote teamwork. When students read each others' papers and offer editing and content help, along with verbal praise for content, there is great growth in developing the student writer. These are ALL heralded in my classroom.

Furthermore, learning language as development must include modeling and scaffolding. The teacher models writing by actually creating stories, outlines, Venn-diagrams, notes, you name it, in front of the children right there on the spot. That's true modeling. You would see this more in Kindergarten and Second Grade verses upper and middle school grades.

Learning language as artifacts promote in depth thinking skills among students. When students learn a particular part of language it spawns more ideas. Artifacts such as brainstorming, making an outline, and creating student made author profiles, are very useful to create awesome writing in the classroom.

I have also had great success when students create pictures and or make pictures while I'm lecturing, and then develop essay answers on the spot by looking at their drawings. Use everything you can think of in the classroom, especially when it comes to artifacts.

Every student can learn in a variety of writing situations. Never forget: Every student can learn. Every student can write. Every student can read. Never give up on a student. Ever.

The teacher, psychologist, and even an outside advocate, must promote the overall goal of student learning, literacy, and promotion. It is always my goal to bring out the best in all my students.

Learning as development, using artifacts, and specific social and expressive language teaching techniques will enable the students to learn more effectively and rapidly. I would use groups, lectures, and even projects with these techniques. Journaling each and every step of the way.

We must get back to allowing students to journal on each and every assignment. Students can have a journal sitting right next to their textbook, and make notes about what they are learning in math, social studies, science, and language.

Thus, the students will have habitual learning and writing techniques that they can take with them until they finish high school and into the college settings. Essentially, writing and literacy through journals that they can take with them-forever.
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