My first year of teaching, I had a fabulous science instructional coach at my school. He was really great at pushing me, which just made me a better teacher. He encouraged me to do individual science journals with my kindergarten kids. I wasn’t sure if my kids were ready to write in their own journals every day. Most of them couldn’t write and didn’t even want to draw, but I knew this was important and that all of my students would benefit. I had to figure out a way that they could be successful at it and would be encouraged to TRY. This is what started our class science journal.
Supplies for the Class Journal
- Half size anchor chart paper
- Butcher paper to cover it front (simply wrap it like a present)
- Class journal label (HERE for free)
- Oops tape (a.k.a post-it tape)
- Post-it notes
How To Use the Journal
Sometimes we would write in our journal daily, and other times we would do it once a week. Either way, I made sure that we wrote in the journal at least once for each science topic we covered.
I used this time to incorporate shared and interactive writing. Shared writing is when the students dictate and the teacher writes correctly. Interactive writing is when the students share the pen with the teacher and the writing may not always be correct, but it usually phonetic.
We would typically follow the same format when writing. We would include the date in our journal and then write a few sentences about what we learned. Then, I would draw a picture, have a student draw a picture, or pass out post-it notes and have them draw a picture. Here is an example.
After we write about it, we then use the pointer and read it aloud chorally.
Moving to Student Science Journals
After a week or two of doing this with them, I would encourage them to write in their own journals first. Then, we would gather on the carpet to share out and write in our class journal together. Early on for my kindergarteners, I would give them a sentence stem, a prompt, or ask them a question and have them write and draw their answer.
I hear many teachers say that they like the idea of interactive notebooks, but they aren’t sure how to incorporate them. This is the perfect way to give a science journal a whirl! Get comfortable with this system, and then slowly walk into interactive notebooks with your students. If you want to learn more about interactive notebooks, check out this video HERE. Having your students read and write about their learning is powerful! You won’t regret it!