Learning Logs are used for students' reflections on the material they are learning. This type of journal is in common use among scientists and engineers. In the log, students record the process they go through in learning something new, and any questions they may need to have clarified. This allows students to make connections to what they have learned, set goals, and reflect upon their learning process.
The act of writing about thinking helps students become deeper thinkers and better writers. Teachers and students can use Learning Logs during the formative assessment process, as students record what they are learning and the questions they still have, and teachers monitor student progress toward mastery of the learning targets in their log entries and adjust instruction to meet student needs. By reading student logs and delivering descriptive feedback on what the student is doing well and suggestions for improvement, the teacher can make the Learning Log a powerful tool for learning.
How can I adapt it?
Writing about Mathematics
Students write an explanation to another student of how to do a math problem. They should include the why of the solution as well as the how.
Writing about History
Students place themselves in a historical period or event and write about it from the point of view of someone who is there. In their responses, students focus on the what, where, why, how, when, and what if. Or students write a dialogue between themselves and a historical personage, focusing on the same details.
Focused writing is an excellent way to begin a collaborative session. Students write non-stop for five minutes on a specific topic they are studying. The purpose is for students to find out what they know about the topic, to explore new ideas, and to find out what they need to learn about the topic.
Response Logs are a good way to examine student thinking. They are most often connected with response to literature, but they may be used in any content area. They offer students a place to respond personally, to ask questions, to predict, to reflect, to collect vocabulary and to compose their thoughts about text. Teachers may use Response Logs as formative assessment during the learning process.
Websites or Response / Learning Logs
- Example of a Response Sheet
- Directions for Shutter Book - a type of Response Log
- Example of Response Log for Elementary Grades
- Example of Learning Log Guidelines and Rubrics (there are rubric examples everywhere online)