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