Reflective Writing: Ideas for Teachers

Reflective writing can help learners in synthesizing new information, improve reading comprehension, writing performance, and self-esteem through self-examination. In online courses and traditional lecture classes that serve hundreds of students with no time for questions or discussion, journaling can add an interactive component (Educause). Journaling remains underused as a teaching and learning tool. Possibly many instructors do not know of its many benefits or are unfamiliar with the various technologies available to implement it.

Exchanging Ideas by Sharing Journals: Interactive Response in the Classroom

Students brainstorm possible generic prompts for their journals, then practice an exchange with their partners. As students begin using the journals, mini-lessons are presented on responding to prompts, creating dialogue, adding drawings, and asking and answering questions. Students can choose their own partners, or partners can be teacher-assigned so that less proficient and more proficient writers can be paired.

Prompts for Journals

  • What does the story remind you of?
  • What kinds of images did you see while you were reading?
  • What do you think will happen next in the story?
  • What do you like most about the main character?
  • What kinds of surprises did the story give you?
  • Compare this story to another story you’ve read.

Daily Reading Response Journals – Include these details for each journal entry:

  • The Date.
  • Two significant quotations from the day’s reading and the page number that they appeared on in your book (Keep in mind the type of quotations you will need for your project).
  • Personal connections between your own life and events in the day’s reading (Keep in mind the type of essays you will write for your project).
  • Interesting questions you want to discuss further in class.
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