Homework…what is it good for? Absolutely nothing, if you listen to Kirstie Allsopp who has started a campaign against it on Twitter last week. Well, there are other options (other than not giving it at all), one of them is to use a learning log (or learning journal).
As I am not a teacher, I used the resident expert (Janette) to describe what a learning log is, and how she uses them at school. After the popularity of the school council post, hopefully you will find this as useful!
What is a learning log?
A learning log is a great way of getting the children in your class to show you what they have learned that week. It is homework, but completely child led and designed to be fun! You need to get each child an A4 book, so when opened they have a lot of space to work.
How do they work?
Incredibly easily. I give each pupil a slip of paper to glue into their learning log, which has some of the learning objectives that we will have covered in the week. The older the child, the less scaffolding you have to give them (ie, for the youngest you may have to give them some sample activities they could do). They are then asked to spend about an hour a week recording what they have done at school – either in one go, or spread out over the week. They can do whatever they want to show what they have learned – they can use computers, artwork, anything they like. The only rule is that I want to be amazed by the work they hand in.
Are they meant to be done alone?
Not at all, it is brilliant if other people can help out. Working together with a parent will help reinforce their learning.
What was the best example of a learning log that you have seen?
Some of the best ones I have seen is where the child takes the role of the teacher, and teaches other people what they have learned this week. Especially in maths where the methods they use at school may be different to the methods their parents are used to.
Do you give any other homework?
The only other homework I give is to ask children to read every night or if your school sends home spellings.
How did you learn about learning logs?
In my last school, I worked with Jez Smith who is amazingly creative…all I know, I learned from him!
I have saved some examples of the learning objective slips into dropbox, but as I haven’t got approval, I can’t give you examples of the children’s work 😦 Fear not though, as part of my in-depth research for this post, I found this site Learning Logs Online which has some great examples!
Learning Log slip examples (some of which include Pohl’s Thinking Keys):