Literacy 7-12

Systems Change


Journaling allows students to reflect on their thinking and feelings, process their learning, and connect new information to what they know, supporting their identity development and Sense of Belonging. As a more informal form of expression, journals can be safe spaces for students to make their learning visible and to share their difficulties, questions, and emotions about a topic.

Use It in the Classroom

Watch how this middle school teacher uses journals to support students' reflection on their participation. By allowing students time to journal their responses to different prompts first, students are able to reflect on their own participation and share this in a way that supports Metacognition. The teacher also discusses the importance of making students who may be shy feel safe and recognized through journaling, thus improving students Motivation to participate in class.

  • Teachers can incorporate structured and unstructured journaling in a variety of ways. They can create an ongoing document where students continue to record their learning throughout the class or have a one-time assignment, such as free writes, fictionalized diaries of characters, or gratitude journaling. Asking specific questions on what students learned, the perspectives or concepts introduced, or a personal connection can guide students to journal about more specific ideas. These reflective journals, where students record their learning or even trace how their perspectives change, can help develop their Metacognition and Composition.
  • Design It into Your Product

    Videos are chosen as examples of strategies in action. These choices are not endorsements of the products or evidence of use of research to develop the feature.

    Starting at 11:29, watch how Seesaw uses a journaling format to help students record their learning. Students can record their learning and reflection in multimedia formats such as pictures, videos, and audio clips. They can also use recommended Vocabulary and templates to help them develop their Disciplinary Literacy in science. Similarly, bringing in new relatable formats such as "selfie science" creates the incentives and Motivation for students to engage in what they are learning outside of the classroom.

  • Developers can integrate several multimedia ways for learners to reflect upon their learning and make it visible through different kinds of journaling exercises.
  • Factors Supported by this Strategy