Journals are a safe space for students to reveal their inner thoughts and share (or keep confidential) ideas with peers and teachers. Journals may be collected or students may keep them and read from them when they feel comfortable. Either way, the journal promotes writing and thinking. There are some effective writing prompts on this site to provoke creative and critical thinking. Keep in mind that a journal can be informal or formal -- you choose!
I really like this article because it focuses on journals for MATH class. Students need to think and write in most classes and math is no exception. Students who are able to describe their thinking in a journal give their teacher access to their thought process. Using the affective responses, teachers will also learn about the students' perceptions of the class and the teacher's instructional style. This gives the teacher critical constructive feedback.
Interactive journals are important for many reasons: collaboration, critical thinking, writing style and writing process. In these lesson plans, students reflect on literature, write in a journal and then share with one another. However, you may modify the plan to have students read nonfiction works such as science articles or news reports.
Middle and high school students are quite adept at texting so this concept is not far from their comfort and ability range. Dialogue journals can be formal or informal, yet the premise is for students to interact with each other while talking about a topic. This "conversation" evokes further thought and feeling. I like the idea of showing videos to promote dialogue.
This is an effective strategy to help ESL or ELL students learn English. Teachers are able to communicate with the students on an individual basis. Students do not need to worry about the intricacies of language, but rather they focus on their ideas. The teacher will then be able to check on students' progress and adjust instruction.
Although this video features a travel journal for younger students, teachers can understand how the travel journal applies to studying a book or historical period in middle or high school. This travel journal brings literature and history to life and gives students the ability to individualize their learning.
This site includes strategies for integrating reader response journals into the classroom arena. It also includes and instructional video. I like the concept of read alouds because it exposes students to texts and information that they may have never explored on their own.