Science and Teaching for Field Instructors

Field Journaling with Students

Field Journaling as a learning tool to improve observations

Most outdoor science schools have student journals, but many field instructors report that they could use help in learning how to use journals more often and more effectively to support science instruction. Journals are indispensable and ubiquitous tools in natural history and science, and if journals are used well in outdoor science programs they can become an equally powerful part of a field instructor’s “toolkit.” Used strategically, journaling can help students to observe deeply and to engage in other science practices. Journals also provide an invaluable venue for student reflection- both during the field experience, and later if students revisit their journal entries after they return home.

Goals for this session are:
  • Experience three journaling activities that can be used with students.
  • Explore a variety of naturalists’ journal pages, and discuss different goals of and strategies for field journaling.
    Use this knowledge to build an understanding of field journaling as a tool for learning
  • Learn how to scaffold successful and engaging journaling experiences for students.
  • Practice how to give useful feedback to students on their journal entries.
  • Reflect on how to incorporate more journaling into outdoor science instruction.
  • (OPTIONAL)- Discuss the pros and cons of a wide variety of sample pages from printed outdoor science school student journals.
View and Download Materials:
Leader Guide
Leader Guide
Session Slides
Session Slides
Naturalist Journal Sample Pages
Naturalist Journal Sample Pages
Student Journal Sample Pages
Student Journal Sample Pages
Example of Journal Use During a Week of Outdoor Science School
Example of Journal Use During a Week of Outdoor Science School
Field Journaling with Students
Field Journaling with Students
Selecting Journaling Activities from "Opening the World Through Nature Journaling"
Selecting Journaling Activities from "Opening the World Through Nature Journaling"
Journaling Prompts
Journaling Prompts
Background Information
Background Information
Applying Session to Instruction
Applying Session to Instruction
References
References

The student activities for this session are embedded in the leader guide.

Notes: Professional learning videos are intended to support program leaders, not as online learning experiences for field instructors. This video was edited to focus on how the program leader leads the session; the actual session is much more participant-focused, and participants spend most of the session exploring and discussing ideas with their peers. The script and this video don’t always agree. We recommend you follow the script if you notice a discrepancy.