As a teen, I used to write and journal daily. It helped me focus, express myself, sort my ideas and thoughts.
This week, I have used it to deal with my feelings around tragedy, my goals both professionally and personally, as a way to brainstorm and sort ideas to share with colleagues, and as a tool with students and my own daughter to express what is on their mind.
Students who use journals are actively engaged in their own learning and have the opportunity to clarify and reflect upon their thinking. When students write in journals, they can record such things as ideas and feelings, special words and expressions they have heard, interesting things that have happened to them or information about interesting people. Journal writing offers students opportunities to write without fear often associated with marking. Every journal entry is individualized.
Here is another great resource with things to consider if you want to use journals in the classroom and ways to use them.
As a TTOC, having a writing prompt, journal or discussion point can be a great idea! Allow students to write then share (I always give the option to pass)
We use this strategy in our mentoring program for new teachers and TTOCs, we always start with a 5 minute quiet write and then allow the participants to share out or pass. It helps us as mentors see where the participants are at and guide our meeting, as well as gives everyone a chance to "vent" or let out their feelings.
I am learning to re-appreciate the value of writing and journals as I use it in my classroom, with my colleagues and for my own personal reflection.