A learning log is a specialized type of journal. Unlike typical journals, students record responses to the educational material they are learning. This type of journal helps students reflect more deeply on the material they are learning.
Learning logs may include:
- Concept Webs
- Semantic Maps
- Semantic Feature Analysis
- Lists of Unanswered Questions Students Have
- Observations for Experiments
- Teaching Strategies
Why Use Learning Logs?
- Learning logs prepare students to be great note-takers.
- Students have reference notes.
- Students may use learning logs to reflect on learning.
- Teachers can check for students’ understanding of a topic.
- Learning logs become an example of student growth.
- Teachers can determine which strategies are effective or ineffective.
Get the handout that provides all this information as well as the printable organizers for you to try with your students.
How to Use a Learning Log
While learning logs are often blank journals, graphic organizers are extremely helpful to help students organize thoughts. Because of this, blank spiral notebooks are a little more difficult to use. With a blank notebook, students would need to draw their own organizers. If a handout is provided, students would have to trim handouts down to fit or fold them in half before gluing the page into the notebook.
If teachers plan to provide organizers, charts, and maps, three-ringed binders or folders are both good options.
Learning Log Do’s
Offering choices is good. This allows students to be creative and use preferred learning methods. For example, the assignment could be to write a paragraph, draw a labeled illustration, or create a graphic organizer that shows …
Be sure students understand what is expected of them. Set rules for each task as to length, complexity, and so on. Students need to know what is expected of them.
Remember that learning logs are just a snapshot of a student’s knowledge. Learning logs do not go into the same depth that interactive notebooks do.
This illustration shows how older fossils are found in deeper layers. Notice the illustration is a combination of a crayon drawing and pictures that have been printed, cut out, and glued to the page.
The second example is an explanation of lunar phases. This example shows a combination of paragraphs and student-drawn illustrations.
Learning Log Organizers
Tasks vary depending on the material that is being taught. The teacher prepares ‘Learning Log’ entries.
Process entries include a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.
Reflection entries reflect on what students have learned. They show students’ thoughts. Students can express how the subject matter being taught is useful to them. Reflection entries also include ways students plan to use the knowledge.
With reaction entries, students expand on the feelings they experience in response to the topic they are studying.
Better Way Entries
A better way is similar to a reflection entry except students go a step further and tell what they could do differently.
- What is a better way to do this experiment?
- How can I memorize these facts using less time?
The teacher might say, “Next week we are going to study —. Design a poster telling what you know about —-.”