Vol. 6, No. 5

(Part 3)
Read more: Part 1, Part 2, Part 4

More Journal Tips
Thinking about making science notebooks and journals more central to your teaching this year? Here are a few more suggestions for making the most of this important pedagogical tool:

• Give students a sense of ownership of their journals by allowing them to retain control over their entries (to make changes, add pages, etc.). In this way the contents of their notebooks will have personal meaning to them and will more accurately reflect the progression of their individual learning.
• Encourage students to share notebook entries with each other and with the class so that students have the opportunity to learn from each other.
• Recording data, questions and observations is only the first step in using the journal as a tool for inquiry learning. Allow adequate time for students to interpret and to make meaning of the data they record. Analyzing their findings allows students to come to conclusions, make sense of what they have experienced, and reflect on what they have learned.

Interested in other helpful tips? See previous newsletters for more suggestions.

What Journals Would You Like to Use?

We are considering expanding our catalog of journals to include subject-specific books. These journals would have the same features that make our Field Journal and Young Observer’s Notebook such useful tools for inquiry learning:

• detailed and illustrated introductory overviews
• tables of content
• formatted pages to encourage writing, drawing, and questions
• rulers on the cover to take measurements

The new journals would focus children’s observations on exploring specific places (the zoo, the art gallery), on technology (electricity, hand tools), or on examining aspects of their own life (autobiography, family history).

Do you currently use a content-focused journal? Would any of the ideas mentioned above be of use with your students? What would you like to see developed?

Take this opportunity to influence the development process:
• Email your thoughts and reactions to:
• Provide us with your mailing address and we will send you a draft version of one of these new journals for you to review and critique.

We appreciate the feedback. Thank you!


The First Hand Learning Catalog offers nature journals, hands-on science kits, posters, and more. Go to

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