Literacies Circle: Forms of Journaling

Last week, I found myself overwhelmed by a pile of journals, notes, and calendars from my work prior to retirement, my current writing project, private practice, and my home. As I tackled the pile, I realized that I had different methods for keeping my notes, journal entries, calendars, and lists for different situations. I am normally well organized, but I also did find that some items were scribbled on random pieces of scrap paper that I cannot recollect why I wrote them down.  

A pile of papers, notebooks, journals, calendars. Most are white but one journal cover is red.

Certainly, we can teach our growing humans how to take careful notes, such as Cornell notes or annotations, but they are the ones who will be referring to and reflecting on their items.

In a literacies circle, children of all ages can discover how to take notes and write entries in their own best way for different purposes.

Our youngest children watch us make grocery lists or mark events on a calendar. And many have watched their parents try to work from home during the pandemic, keeping a journal or notepad along the way. How can children be a part of learning about these every day processes?

Even in elementary school, children are already using clipboards making tally marks as they make observations around them, such as the color of people’s sneakers or a favorite fruit. What kinds of conversation can we have with them not only about the data itself, but what to do with the notes after the data collection?

Older children and teens can learn about Cornell notes, mapping, webbing, outlining, charts, calendars, and bullet journals. And a range of online apps. How can children and teens share their experiences with various forms under different circumstances?

How can children and teens be assured there is no one right way to keep track of things?

What are some of the ways people make their notes stand out for their reflection? More efficient to review? How can they use abbreviations, symbols, color coding, rubber stamps, or even little doodles?

If a syllabus or notes are provided by the teacher, how do people actively process this information rather than simply stash them into a folder? (In high school, I actually cut strips from a syllabus and pasted them onto pages of a notebook to fill out more information below each strip.)

How do people distinguish forms of journaling for recall, such as a test, or for a writing project, such as an essay or science report?

How can children and teens both merge and separate information provided by other people and their own opinions?

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