This tool, which is a written correspondence between two classmates, gives students a purpose for their writing. Buddy Journals promote student interaction and collaboration, and they can also help improve students’ grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
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How to Use
Determine Buddy pairs ahead of time. This can be done based on ability level or it can be randomized. Buddies can be changed every few weeks.
Assign a prompt or question that the students will be writing about in their journals. Typically, this will be a response to something just covered in the classroom, but Buddy Journals can begin as responses to simple “getting-to-know-you” questions.
The two students who have been assigned as buddies write to each other in separate journals for an allotted amount of time. While writing, students should be silent. After the time expires, the buddies switch journals and respond to what their partner has written.
Monitor the writing in the Buddy Journals and occasionally collect them to read the entries. Spot-check the entries as students are writing to clear up any misconceptions. As an option, have students share their written conversation with the rest of the class.
When to Use
Use Buddy Journals at any point in the lesson to structure meaningful written conversation between students:
During the Guided Practice section of a lesson so students can discuss information just covered
As a closing activity so that students can review what was learned in the lesson
As an alternative to any verbal paired discussion
As the conclusion to a “Written Round Robin," based on a teacher-provided question, category, or prompt
Teacher Dialogue Journal
In this journal tool, students write back and forth with their teacher rather than another classmate. This dialogue allows both the students and the teacher to comment on each other’s entries.
When working on group projects, all members of the group or team are responsible for writing in the journal. They can write about their views of the project, new information they have learned from the project, and they can respond to their teammates’ entries.