________________ CM . . . . Volume I Number XI . . . . August 25, 1995

Journals in the Classroom

Judith Ann Isaacs and Janine S. Brodine.
Winnipeg: Peguis Publishers, 1994. 124pp, paper, $17.00.
ISBN 1-895411-69-6.

Subject Headings:
English language-Composition and exercises-Study and teaching (Elementary).
Language arts (Elementary).

Kindergarten - grade 6 / Ages 5 - 11.
Review by Harriet Zaidman.


. . . go slowly, introduce one idea at a time, and allow both the children and yourself to become comfortable with journaling. Keep thinking of how those basketballs bounce off the backboard and expect to see as misses as scores.

The sub-title of this book is "A Complete Guide for the Elementary Teacher," which sums up the contents of this clearly written and practical guide to teaching journal-writing in the elementary school. The authors are both highly experienced in teaching writing, literacy skills, and everything related, and this book is the product of work done for a course they developed on teaching journal-writing to teachers.

Writing in a journal (or log) is a common practice in schools nowadays, but many teachers find the pressures of the daily school work leads them to neglect the journal-writing activity.

So the sports analogy in the excerpt above is appropriate. Without trying over and over, without coaching, one might have all the natural talent in the world, but it would never be refined and developed to its peak. The same holds for reading and writing; they are skills that improve with practice.

Journals in the Classroom provides step-by-step analysis of the theory behind journal-writing, types of journals, different techniques that can be used (free-writing, listing, altered point of view, and unsent letters, to mention only a few), how to introduce journals (including a section on parental involvement), journals across the curriculum, lessons, activities and unit plans, and more. It includes a question-and-answer section, pointers on using journals in different learning situations, and advice on the evaluation process.

The authors stress that successful journal-writing must take place on a daily basis, and that it takes two to three years for teachers to fully develop their skills in teaching journal-writing. Using the myriad hands-on suggestions provided here as a guide, teachers have ample opportunity to find the teaching style and type of journal that suit them and the needs of their curriculum.

Journals in the Classroom is an excellent resource to have on hand through an entire school year, from kindergarten to grade six. It also has many ideas applicable to secondary grades.

Highly Recommended.

Harriet Zaidman is a Winnipeg teacher/librarian.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364