Both teachers and students can find value in using Learning Logs. For a student, it is a way to keep a record of what he or she is doing and learning in terms of knowledge and skills—right then, as the learning occurs. It is especially helpful for struggling students since it affords them a way to be organized and focused. For the teacher, the Learning Log becomes a tool for formative assessment, a way to determine what and how students are learning. It serves to pinpoint a student’s strengths and needs, a starting point for differentiated instruction (see Learning Logs and Learning Journals).
Want to see Learning Logs in action? Check out the exciting case story from Inglehust Junior School. It offers examples of Learning Logs created by young students. These logs show students creatively combining drawings and text to capture their expanding knowledge.
While Learning Logs are relevant across the grades and curriculum, they are particularly beneficial for long-term instructional units or projects. A prime candidate is the research project, which typically enters the curriculum in the upper elementary grades (and remains through high school). As students engage in research, they can use the Learning Log to record their initial ideas and explorations before settling on a particular topic, and keep a running record of important facts, concepts, and ideas related to their topics. They can use the log to critically evaluate what they are learning.
The implementation of Learning Log cries out for good technology tools. The article, “My top 5 List of Applications for Learning Logs” does what it promises—it offers suggestions for free tools you can integrate into your classroom. Below are three possible tools for you to check out.
- WordPress: free-web based blogging software works great for creating a Learning Log. WordPress blogs can be made public or private, with the ability to even make individual posts private or password-protected.
- Blogger: Free, weblog publishing tool from Google can be used for sharing text, photos, and videos.
- Google Sites: A wiki that includes various templates that can be adapted for a Learning Log.
PowerUp WHAT WORKS includes an Instructional Strategy Guide titled, “Conducting Research.” As you review the evidence-based strategies Lesson in Action, short video, and resources, consider ways in which Learning Logs could enhance instruction.