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Journaling in the garden is a way to integrate a variety of language arts benchmarks, such as constructing a complete sentence, developing a concise paragraph, writing a narrative, using concise,descriptive words, or writing a clear message with well-chosen details.


A journal can be a way to collect data, record changes, and note student observations.  It can help students demonstrate what they have learned or express creatively how a gardening experience made them feel.  With your classroom teacher's input, decide what type of journal would best suit your students and their needs.  Pre-formatted journal pages can be used to record observations or a blank sheet of lined paper to write about an assigned theme.

Types of journal pages
Garden Observations - a report for students to write about weather and garden observations.
Sensory Garden Report - for younger students who will write about their garden experience using sight, sound, and touch.
Picture Journal  - for younger students when drawing a picture is more age appropriate than writing observations.
Field Notes - an activity for older students to record observations in a garden area or on the nature trail.
Growth  Chart - a table for students to record plant growth, weather conditions, and other observations.


Things to consider: 

  • Will each student create a journal, will groups work as a team to create one, or will students add pages to a class journal?

  • What will the cover be?  Consider a pocket folder or hand-made cover. 

  • Will all or some of the pages be blank or would a pre-formatted page be better?

  • Open-ended entries can be pictures or sentences expressing what they observed, experienced, or learned.

  • Structured entries can meet specific criteria you set.

  • Show your class that the journal has value by consistently recording in it and referencing it. 

Suggestions for entries:

  • Record weather, temperature, wind, season, time, date, seasonal changes.

  • Listen.  What do you hear both near and far?

  • Record general changes to the garden.

  • Record specific plant changes.

  • Look for birds, insects, and other animals.  What did they look like?  What were they doing?

  • What did you do today?  What did you learn?

  • Have each student adopt a “special spot.”  Observe, sketch, and note how the spot changes over time.

  • Look from an ant's point of view.  Lie down and see the world as an ant would see it.  How big would a blade of grass seem?  Where would you hide if a lawn mower or predator came?

  • Write responses to literature that you read to students in a garden area.


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"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant." Robert Louis Stevenson

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