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Key words: Instructional strategies/Language/K-12

Submitted by: Susan Cammel

A. Topic:

The use of journal writing to improve students' creativity and language development.

B. Objectives:

The students will be able to draw an unseen object by using their sense of touch.

The students will be able to enhance their reading skills by reading their journal stories to their peers.

The students will be able to relate objects and items from their lives into their journal writing.

C. Format: What is Done?

First, let it be known that this is only one of many ways that journal writing can be used and developed. I chose this way because of its uniqueness and the way that students could manipulate different objects.

The students are given a choice of three to six bags. Each bag has an object in it. The students chooses the bag that they want. They then reach into the bag to feel it. They are not allowed to look at it. There is really no time limit on how long they can touch an object. After they are finished feeling the object they then draw what they think it is in their journal. When they are finish coloring it they write about what they have drawn. A two or three level combination is encouraged for my grade level (6 and 7 year olds). Next, the teacher individually goes to each student to talk about their journal picture. The teacher then writes a sentence at the bottom clarifying the picture. This is very helpful for the parents who have trouble understanding what their child is describing in their journal. Then, when all the students are finished the students share their stories with their peers.

Why it works?

This type of writing is not done everyday, but it is very useful in developing a student's imagination and creativity. This type of journal writing allows a student to begin to think of an object that is not visually in front of him. Hearing impaired students learn through their eyes. This strategy allows them to rely on their ideas and imagination. There is no right or wrong in journal writing so students do not have that fear of being ridiculed. The reason this works is that students are able to relate ideas and thoughts in their lives to the object they are feeling. For example, if a student is hungry anything that he feels will most likely resemble some sort of food in his journal.

Language skills are practiced as the students find words that can describe what they feel. Language is also practiced and modeled as they read their story to their peers, most often elaborating on what they have written. This is an informal learning environment. Students are free to talk to each other. They are not allowed to look into someone else's bag, and each student has their own bag. I am sure you can't wait to try this exciting journal idea with your class, the giggles, laughter, and language you encounter will encourage you to try it again.... soon.


Special thanks to the Teachers at Belle Stone in Canton who were interviewed. Fordosi, and Yohe.

Calkins, L. (1986). The art of teaching writing. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heineman.

Cazden, C.B. (1981). Language in early childhood education. Washington, D.C.: NAEYC.

Schickedanz, J. A. (1986). More than ABC's: The early stages of reading and writing. Washington, D.C.: NAEYC.

Uploaded by: Sheri Gezann/ K.S.U. Student/ Deaf Ed. Major