Learning Logs

to sharpen students' ability to observe and document their learning, and to use the documentation for self-assessment and planning.

Learning logs are different from journals. Journals usually focus subjectively on personal experience, reactions, and reflections. Learning logs are more documentary records of students' work process (what they're doing); their accomplishments, ideas, or questions. They are a record of learning as it occurs. Teachers can use logs to determine what a student is learning, where they are struggling, and how they need help.

  1. Determine what will be documented and why. Is the purpose to help students observe what they're learning? Name their questions? Chronicle their achievements? Where do you want to focus their attention?
  2. Model and discuss the kinds of documentation you are looking for. Clarify the criteria for unsatisfactory, satisfactory, and excellent entries, so that the expectations are clear. This will allow you to avoid misunderstanding - logs full of one-word responses or lengthy tomes.
  3. Build regular time into the class schedule for writing in the logs, so that it becomes a predictable class ritual.
  4. Engage students in discussion and sharing based on what they've written in their logs, so that their documentation can be used for a real communicative purpose (as well as a reflective one).
  5. Have students self-assess their work based on their documented notes. What do they think they've learned? Where do they need more work?

Examples of learning logs:

Books I read




What we did on our project today


Next Steps



What we learned today

Questions I have



New words I learned

Where I can use these words




What I worked on



Used in Teaching/Learning Example:

Conducting a Survey About Rap