Title: “Buddy Journal”

By: Krystal Billeck

Edited by: Stephanie Martinez & Heather Miller

Textbook Definition: written conversations between children in a journal format; promotes student interaction, cooperation, and collaboration (Pg. 359)

Description of the Lesson: The students write in their journals to a partner about a specific class subject (the Civil War).

When it was Observed: September12, 2011

Teacher & School: Mrs. Brown (Faith West Academy)

Grade Level: 5th Grade

Objectives of the Lesson: The students will learn more about the people and lives involved in the Civil War, and will be advancing their writing and reading skills as well.

Materials Needed for the Lesson:

  • Journals

Procedure: Mrs. Brown asked her students what they thought life was like for the people who were involved in the Civil War. “What do you think both sides were feeling, thinking, and going through?” She then told them they were going to be doing something different in their buddy journals.

Normally, every morning the students can choose to free-write or respond to a daily prompt to a fellow student they were partnered up with in the beginning of the school year. Mrs. Brown decided to integrate this into her History lesson by making the topic about the Civil War.

She explained to her students that they were going to be writing 5 pages of journaling from the perspective of somebody from the Civil War. They were to pretend they were a soldier, sister, brother, mother, father, or wife in the war. They could make up any story that pertains to the Civil War, and it was to be written as a letter to somebody. Mrs. Brown explained that when they were finished with the 5 pages, they would switch journals with their journal buddies and read their letter. Later, they will respond to the letters their buddies wrote.

Supporting Documents:

My Observations of the Lesson: I absolutely love this idea for integrating buddy journaling into a History lesson. I am sure teachers are always trying to find ways to kill two birds with one stone, and this is one way to do it. It allows the students to explore through their writing, enhance their reading skills, and learn about life during the Civil War.

I liked that Mrs. Brown asked them several questions to get them interested and involved. When the students take interest in the topic, they are more motivated to do it. Children love to use their imaginations and tell stories. When the students found out that they were going to get to write their own stories, they actually wanted to learn and research more about the Civil War so they could get started writing. What better way is there for teachers to get students to write, research, and learn than to give them something they like doing?

Benefits of “Buddy Journal”:

  • Promotes student interaction and socialization
  • Encourages cooperation and collaboration
  • Allows students to learn more about each other
  • Exercises creativity and imagination
  • Enhances writing and reading skills
  • Allows students to explore and clarify ideas encountered in class and in their own life experiences
  • Supports self-expression

Drawbacks of “Buddy Journal”: The drawback to buddy journals might be that students may write inappropriate content in the journals. Teachers should remind the students what is appropriate and acceptable content for them to write and what is not.