Student Journals in the FL Classroom

Synopsis prepared by Lee Risley
Some teachers use student journals to help students become better organized by including all of their work in an orderly way just as one might in an English class or for biology. Most find quite a different way in which to engage students in journal-writing: the students are given the classroom opportunity to write (usually in the target language) one or more times each week. This may be an assigned topic or a freelance assignment; there are advantages to each, of course. When journals are turned into the teacher they are handled in various ways. As you read, you will note certain advantages of each that may appeal to you.

There is for many teachers the benefit that they get to know their students better even as the students gradually learn to express themselves better in the target language. If the teacher responds (as opposed to “correcting”) the student work, there is the opportunity to develop a dialogue that can continue over a period of time.

Just how close does journal-writing come to keeping portfolios? Would you like to see a first attempt at a grading rubric for student journals? Then, too, teenagers are quite capable of entrusting embarrassing, ticklish or serious confidences with the teacher. Thoughts on dealing with potential problems are proffered in several letters.

Finally, there are several citations of formal work that has been written about student journals for the interested to follow through on. The letters in this synopsis are merely presented in chronological order inasmuch as there are not a great many contributions and no beneficial logical arrangement suggested itself.

95/09 From -> Lisa Strosin <>
Subject: Re: Portfolios in FL classes

Well, my suggestion is certainly an incomplete version of what
portfolios can be, but a partial and relatively easy portfolio
experience is the use of "journals" for individual and creative writing
samples that expand and develop over time. We have been using "journals"
for 2 years now, from Sp. 2 through 5. They are a weekly requirement in
most classes, they can be "assigned" topics or grammar points, or "free"

In our independent study Spanish V the journals are where composition in
response to literature study occurs. Right now in Spanish 2 writing
prompts are provided by teachers that encourage review topics still
limited to the present tense. Over time students and teachers see growth
and development, students in upper level classes get opportunities to
try out expression of ideas before class discussions and exams of
complex material.

Journals of course only reflect written skills, but with the focus being
on communicative writing, we are finding them to be a great way to deal
with individual differences from extreme low ability through literate
native speaker. And in our very large school, they help us to develop
individual relationships with students as we often respond to them in
writing ourselves oftentimes.

Journals are my life.... Dios mio!!!

Lisa Strosin


95/09 From -> David Christian   DCHRISTI <>
Subject: Re: Portfolios and journals in FL classes

I agree with Lisa says about using journals. True, they only get to the
written aspect of the language, but they can be a wonderful tool for
showing the student just how much they really know. They can also be
used to show the student the amount of improvement they have
accomplished in a set amount of time. But the thing I really liked about
journals when I was a student was that showed my mistakes and the
correction. This was a source of feedback that helped me so much that I
still have all of my journals and read through them when I see my skills
getting rusty.

One side note for the instructor is that if you're like me (and my
teacher before me) and have a ton of things going all at once, have your
students write the goal of the entry on the top of the page or at the
beginning of the entry. I had one entry where I was to write in the
style of narrator of Knut Hamsen's "Hunger," a man suffering from
hallucinations derived from starvation. Between the time the assignment
was given and I handed the journal in (about two weeks, if I remember
correctly), the teacher had forgotten what the exact theme of _that_
entry was to be, and I almost lost half of the possible points! (Good
thing that my classmates stuck up for me!)

David Christian

95/12 From-> Clifford Kent <>
Subject: Journals & Homework

I require the maintaining of a "Journal" in all of my classes which has
helped somewhat with the problem of homework being ignored. This is not
the Journal in the traditional sense, but simply a control device to
stimulate study and organization. It is not 100 percent effective, but
better than anything else I have tried, and especially valuable for our
longer block of time.

I collect the Journals every Friday and grade them. Each entry must be
dated, be legible and contain three items:

 1. Class notes - indication of attention to new material
 2. Home & Class Written Practice - basically homework exercises
 3. Original Manipulation of New Material - must use new vocab and
   grammar in new, proficient manner (original dialogue, paragraph, variety
   of sentences, pictures & captions, etc. etc) - basically a means to have
   them study and review what we did in class.

All three must be present each day to receive the coveted "A". Each
morning I walk around the classroom with an ink pad and stamp the
Journals of those who seem to have fulfilled the requirement for the
day. Also an effective activity. My little Journal is required at every
level, from year 1 onward. I may still not have a group of linguistic
geniuses, but at least the majority seem to keep up with things better.

Please note: the Journal is not a replacement for the all-important oral
aspects of world language instruction, but just an organizational tool.

Clifford Kent

95/12 From-> "Jo Anne S. Wilson\"" <>
Subject: Re: Journals & Homework

I really like what you describe as a tool to work with students. Are you
contemplating using portfolios with your classes? It sounds as if some
of this material would be perfect for that. I'm also wondering: Have you
thought of staggering/rotating the collection of the journals in order
to ease your "correction/review" time? It's one of the issues teachers
seem to struggle with when using portfolios as well and I'm always
interested in how teachers handle that challenge. thanks for your input.
You may contact me off-list, if you'd like .

Jo Anne S. Wilson

96/03 From-> Louise Giordano <>
Subject: Journal use--HELP!

Stephanie Astorino wrote:

>I am writing a paper on the use of a journal to increase language acquisition
>and I was wondering if anyone could help me with some information. I would
>greatly appreciate it if you could either send me some information, or point
>me to some published articles on the topic.

If by journals you mean student journals, I do this with my 8th graders
who have been studying Spanish or French only since the beginning of the
7th grade. They must write to me 5 journal entries per quarter (starting
with 2nd quarter) on any topics of their choosing. I respond to each
entry - almost page for page - a daunting task at times, but so valuable
in terms of rapport-building, knowing my students, sharing info, their
asking and answering questions, and expressing themselves and practicing
using new material. I circle their errors and model correct language.
The improvement over the course of the year is overwhelming!

Initially they earned an A simply by writing 5 pages in their journal.
When the quality began to decline, I changed the criteria. Now they must
write 5 entries of 1 page each for an 80. To achieve an A, they must
complete all entries, write organized, interesting entries, answer any
questions I pose to them, AND make an attempt to correct their errors
from past entries. Although some choose to write "junk", many have risen
to the challenge and write extraordinary reams. For their efforts, they
always get the A+. By the way, they can only submit one entry at a time
to me, and when the deadline comes each quarter, many have yet to
complete the work, and those students receive below B- (maybe WAY
below!!!) depending on both the quantity and quality of their work.

This exercise, while an enormous amount of work for me, has proven very
effective in improving students' output with carry-over to their
speaking/oral communication skills. It has also helped me as well in
Spanish (which has always been my weaker language.) All that writing! It

Louise Giordano


96/08 From-> "Patricia A. Kessler 813-744-8040" <>
Subject: Language Journals

I am planning to have my Spanish I students keep a journal of writings
in Spanish this year. We are starting on block scheduling and have 5
different teachers teaching Spanish. I thought the journals would be a
good item for the students to carry with them from one level to the next
to have a way to see their own progress in the language, and to provide
the next teacher with a basic idea as to their skills, at least in this
one area. I'm looking for some ideas from any of you who have used
journals. What types of things do you have students write about? Do you
ever grade their work or supply corrections to it? Do you find this a
helpful process for both the student and the teacher? Any input is

Patricia A. Kessler

96/08 From-> Lydia Frank      <>
Subject: Re: Language Journals

I have just finished my MEd degree which included a research component.
Two of my classmates did research on journal writing; one will be a
French teacher this year, and she considered many of the questions you
asked in her analysis. I also used journal-type entries in my research
to learn more about affective factors which influence student
participation. I believe journals can be both an important tool for
practicing and improving writing in L2 as well as getting to know
students better.

My friend found that her eighth- grade students were very enthusiastic
about writing in their journals. She did not give them grades on their
writings, but my other classmate (math teacher) gave them a grade for
whether they made an adequate entry, at least 5 sentences, or not. Some
French students said that they wrote more because they knew they weren't
being graded while others said they would have tried harder if they knew
they were being graded.

 My friend made corrections but instead of writing in the journals, she
wrote her comments on a post-it note. Several students were glade that
she didn't "mess up" their journals, and they could go back and fix the
mistakes themselves.

I looked at the journals, which the students only had for 12 weeks, and
I was very impressed with their progress. They were writing very
sophisticated sentences, and they were excited about trying to express
themselves in French, seeking out words they did not know in the

The students started out writing in their journals about twice a week,
and the enthusiasm was so great that my friend made journal writing the
daily warm up activity. Of the four skills, writing was the least
emphasized in her school's curriculum, so she found journals to be a
great way to give her students regular practice in writing.

Her prompts pertained to the lessons or cultural events. For example:
Imagine that you are going on a trip. Describe where you are going, how
you will get there, and what you will take with you. I can't remember
what cultural event was taking place in France so I'll use an example
which comes to mind based on all I've been reading in the forum. Today
is the Day of the Dead in Mexico. What do you think that means? A
volunteer would read the prompt and then she would see if anyone needed
help understanding it. She always wrote her prompts only in French, and
she thought that motivated her students to write more in French. In the
beginning she got a lot of Franglais, but by the end their French
writing really was showing through.

In my ninth grade classes I asked my students to write about their
experiences, impressions, and feelings about learning Spanish. For
example: When do you feel most motivated in Spanish class? When do you
feel least motivated? Or: How do you think your speaking ability has
changed since the beginning of the semester? Why? (If you give them a
two partner, be sure to separate them. Otherwise, many will only answer

Their writings were in English, obviously. I was amazed by how much my
students were willing to share with me. Their honesty and insight not
only helped me get to know many of my students better than I had ever
thought possible, but their input helped me improve my teaching, not to
mention how it supplied me with invaluable data for my research. I would
give them one or two prompts, and I did not grade them nor did I ask for
a minimum number of sentences. Almost all of my students responded.

With all that I have learned in the past year about journal writing, I
am convinced of their importance. This year, my first as a certified
teacher, I plan to implement journal writing in my classroom. I am going
to make them a combination of responses to questions about my students'
learning (in English--I'll be in a middle school) because I am very
concerned about getting to know my students as individuals and finding
out from them what works and what doesn't and, second, responses to
prompts or free-writes in Spanish based upon the success of my French
teaching colleague. I am going to experiment with different ideas until
I find what works for me. You may find some of the suggestions in Les
Parsons' book Expanding Response Journals in All Subject Areas to be

Buena suerte,

Lydia Frank

96/08 From-> "Mary B. McGehee" <>
Subject: Re: Language Journals

Lynn Baudrand did her dissertation on use of journals in foreign
language classes. She studied at LSU. I think you would find her work an
interesting resource.

I have used journals in French III and IV, and have tried two different
approaches. In one, the students wrote, I corrected (basically); in the
other, the students wrote, I wrote back. I never corrected anything they
wrote in their journals, but sometimes used the "correction" in my
response to them. (Also, I "remembered" to later bring up the point at
another time, never referring to their errors in their journals.)

The latter format seemed to get more response from the students, longer
entries in their journals, and more writing progress in the long run. At
times, I have asked them to write on particular topics, most of the
time, I let them write on what is on their minds.

Mary B. McGehee


96/08 From-> Brad Pearl <>
Subject: Re: Language Journals

I have used Journals for 2 years now, and I find it an excellent way to
begin each class period. I begin by giving them a topic from a set of
cards that have. Each topic has about 5 vocab words. I usually give the
Spanish, and students look these words up in their dictionaries.

I give a completion grade only. I feel it's important to allow them the
opportunity to experiment with new vocab and grammar structures without
the fear that I am going to come down on them for misspelling or
incorrect grammar. That's not the time or place for this, IMHO. I have a
lot of success with students this way. They get used to writing in their
journals at the beginning of class. Later on during the year I give
topics that relate to what we have studied or what we are going to

I give a completion grade every three weeks.

Brad Pearl


96/08 From-> janice dirmeitis <>
Subject: Language Journals

For the past three years I have had my Spanish 5 students do a "Dialogue
Journal" two times/week. I start the year off by having them write in
class for 10 minutes straight after having given them about 2-3 minutes
to think about a topic which I supplied. After collecting their journals
I then have a sample length of what they can write in 10 minutes. Only
then are they given the year's dialogue journal assignment.

They must write 2 x /week for 10-15 minutes of at least the length done
in class. I will collect the journals and reply to them. I do not
correct their grammar. They only get Credit or Non- credit. (Non credit
means there is some part that they have written so poorly that it is
incomprehensible and since my aim is communication they must re-word the
indicated section so I can understand it and they can get credit. Or
non-credit can be for not having written for the required length.) The
journal makes up a percentage of their final grade.

They may discuss anything they want. (Be ready to sometimes read some
"heavy" topics!) I do respond to what they've written and always include
some questions to keep the "dialogue" going. They are told that since
this is a dialogue they must read and respond to what I've written to
get "Credit" also. In addition I do not want lists of things or a
repetition of their daily routine.

This year I've decided to give them a long list of topic questions that
they must choose from 2-3 times per marking period. This is to avoid the
occasional student entry of "I don't have anything new to say."

I tell them that although I am interested in communication rather than
grammar correctness I will once per marking period randomly write
grammatical corrections just to show them their progression. This has
been a great project based on their responses but I'll be quite honest
to say that I wouldn't have the time to do it in all of my classes!

Janice Dirmeitis


96/08 From-> Denise Paige Way <4Ways@InfoAve.Net>
Subject: Re: Language Journals

I tried dialogue journals with my 26 French III/IV students for the
first time last year, and it was a great success. At the beginning of
the year, I gave each one a plain file folder to decorate however they
wanted. They personalized their folders in amazing ways (animals,
self-portrait sketches, sports, landscapes, words, numbers, musical
instruments/groups, whimsical creatures, cartoon frames, etc...).
Juniors and Seniors DO love to color! They wanted me to hold them up
individually so everyone could see. Some students who aren't usually
recognized for their talents were praised for their creativity; no one
seemed to mind me holding them all up. These folders would hold their
journals and were in a crate where they could grab their own anytime
they wanted.

Then, I had a sheet I designed with MON JOURNAL at the top, a place for
the date, and about 20 lines to write on. This is nicer and neater than
using their own (sometimes raggedy) paper. I gave them the option of
assigning topics or free writing. They overwhelmingly chose free
writing. I had them do their first sample the second class meeting.

I urge them to just write and not look anything up. I want them to
circumlocute and not to rely too heavily on a dictionary. I will answer
any vocab questions if asked in French, but I encourage them to think of
alternative ways of expressing things. I respond only to content, not to
grammar (we already test that in so many other ways!). I also stress
that what they write is 100% confidential; I won't tell another student
or teacher what they have written. As someone else mentioned, students
can disclose some amazing info. I can't believe what some of them would
tell me: love with an older man, an abusive father, a suicide attempt,
an overdose incident, a racist or sexist teacher, and of course the
usual he/she doesn't love me any more or I had a lousy/great day, etc...

I respond by comforting, encouraging, agreeing (in correct grammatical
form), and/or recounting a similar incident in my life, and I always try
to ask at least one question to which they can respond next time. Each
time they write (about once per week), they get their folders back and
can refer to what they've written previously or comment on and/or answer
what I've written. As the year went on, their entries got longer as did
my responses. This takes a lot of time, but the rewards are wonderful.
The bond between me and them was definitely strengthened. I must stress
that the confidentiality is extremely important.

In May, one of my male students got so sidetracked rereading what he'd
written from Sept. on that he almost forgot to write! He blurted out, "I
can't believe I wrote that!" And then everyone had to know what it was
so he spontaneously read a past entry aloud in French to a captivated
audience. I said nothing this whole time. They all laughed when he
finished--a great ending to a great year, and it clinched for me the
importance of dialogue journals. They had effectively chronicled their
lives for the year. They all carried off their folders at the end of the
year, proud of their improvement.

This year I plan to write while my students do and have my own folder
which they can read anytime they want and even write comments to me, if
they wish.

I highly recommend dialogue journals!

Denise Paige Way


96/08 From-> Lynn Shirk <>
Subject: Re: Language Journals

Yesterday Denise Paige Way wrote the following about dialogue journals:

>I also stress that what they write is 100% confidential; I won't tell another
>student or teacher what they have written. As someone else mentioned,
>students can disclose some amazing info. I can't believe what some of them
>would tell me: love with an older man, an abusive father, a suicide attempt,
>an overdose incident, a racist or sexist teacher, and of course the usual
>he/she doesn't love me any more or I had a lousy/great day, etc...

I am a member of our school's Student Assistance Team and I would like
to remind teachers about the legal dangers of free response dialogue
journals. If a teacher promises confidentiality, students are apt to
write some very personal things. What if a student writes about thoughts
of suicide and then, God forbid, follows through? I believe that (at
least in Pennsylvania) a teacher could get into legal trouble for NOT
breaking the vow of confidentiality and trying to get help for the

IMHO, assigning specific topics for journal entries might be a safer
practice. I know that it is unfortunate but I feel that we must consider
possible legal repercussions. I HAVE used dialogue journals in the past
and I definitely see the value in having the students write about
whatever is on their minds. However, since joining our Student
Assistance Team and learning a little more about legalities, I will not
use the free writing format in the future.

Just something to think about.

Lynn Shirk


96/08 From-> Denise Paige Way <4Ways@InfoAve.Net>
Subject: Re: Language Journals

In reply to Lynn Shirk's comment pertaining to the confidentiality of
dialogue journal entries:

I would like everyone to know that the suicide attempt I mentioned was
not one of my student's own accounts, but a recount of that of a friend
of hers. I have had several students in the past TELL me (not in
writing) they wanted to commit suicide, and I immediately reported those
to guidance as required. I still will not disclose anything they write
to fellow teachers (barring guidance) or other students.

I will continue to allow students to free write, if they so choose. The
results are so much less stilted than when topics are required or
imposed. Sometimes we are the only real sounding board some of these
kids have, and I will not turn my back on them just to keep myself safe
in a hermetically-sealed, impersonal world.

Lynn certainly raises a valid point though which perhaps underscores an
extremely crucial area in which we should all be knowledgeable in our
respective states--reporting abuse and suicidal tendencies. I would
definitely report anything I thought was illegal or dangerous in a
student's journal entry to guidance, but I'm not going to live in

Just a clarification!

Denise Paige Way


96/08 From-> "Jessica A. Roberts" <>
Subject: Re: Language Journals

I think free writing is extremely important for students at this age. I
am looking forward to teaching, but currently manage a retail store. I
know that my teen staff commonly looks to me as a mentor, and therefore
tells me many intimate things about their lives. Although I too would
try to intervene if the matter were life threatening, I think it is
important to allow students to speak freely.

As teens, a lot of these kids feel they really have no one to turn to
who understand them. I feel that if they trust us as teachers, managers,
mentors, or even friends, we should respect them enough to thoughtfully
file the information away. I am always flattered when teens turn to me,
and am glad they are able to have someone to confide in.

Jessica A. Roberts


96/08 From-> Madeline Bishop <>
Subject: Journals/ more ideas

Hi Listers,

Journal ideas I've used successfully.

1) Have students decorate outside of "steno" tablet with pictures from
France or original work. This makes the journal special and it's easier
to find it in the journal box.

2) Have students glue on the inside front cover a list of possible
topics so if they run out of ideas they have a list to consult.

3) Have students on Friday... or even once a month... choose a short
section of their best work to be evaluated for structure. The rest of
the time, the teacher reads work and comments only on content and

4) Don't let students take the journal home. They'll forget it and so
won't have work to do when you write in them the next day. Journal
writing should be a reflection, also, of attendance.

5) During the 10 minute writing period, each student is allowed to ask
the teacher's advice only twice. This keeps students from bugging you
and stimulates them to think carefully before raising their hands, but
you haven't withdrawn your help altogether.

I liked the sticky note idea. I'm going to use that one next year.

Madeline Bishop


96/08 From-> Bill Mann <>
Subject: Re: Language Journals


I couldn't agree with you more!!!!! I, too, worked as a retail manager
for over 3 years and many of the teens on my staff looked up to me as a

Last year was my first year teaching and my students were really great
kids. Many of them had many problems too detailed to go into. However,
they came to me as a mentor, teacher, and friend and confided many
things in me.

Often times, they would come to me to tell me things because they KNEW
that I WOULD, intervene, either because I was obligated too by law, or
because they knew I cared enough to go to people that they could not
take the first step to go see themselves.

Some of these situations worked out and others didn't. They knew,
however, that it was out of true concern that I "betrayed" their trust.
Are we really betraying a trust when the students know that there are
certain things that we are bound to take to the "higher up"? I do not
think that it is. More importantly, I do not believe the students, most
of them anyway, think that it is.

Example, I had a student come in to class REEKING of marijuana. I sent a
note to the nurse and she was suspended after a drug test. After all was
said and done, she was not angry with me for "doing my job". This was
after having a very frank discussion with a few students in which I said
that I would have no choice but to turn them in if I felt that they were
using drugs in school, or on the way to school, in which it would be
obvious to the point where someone would notice.

Well, just my 2 cents worth. (Seems more like a quarter doesn't it?)

Bill Mann


96/08 From-> "Robert D. Peckham" <bobp@UTM.Edu>
Subject: Journal writing

Forgive me if I blunder for not having followed this string, but I would
like to point out a very interesting article first printed in the
Journal of Celtic Language Learning 1 (1995) and subsequently reprinted:

Blyn, Roslyn. "Journal Writing as a Method of Student Motivation in
Irish Language Class" PENN Language Notes Nos. 11/12 (Fall 1995/Spring
1996) 19-25.



97/01 From-> Lewis Johnson <>
Subject: Re: journal topics

There are two books that my wife uses for journal writing. One is "The
Book of Questions" and the other "The Kid's Book of Questions." They are
small paperback books with a couple of hundred questions each.


If you had a younger brother or sister who looked up to you and imitated
everything you did, what would you do differently?

If your mother dyed her hair green and wanted to go to the mall with
you, what would you do?

If someone would give you $1,000,000 to kiss the ugliest person in
school, would you do it? (My wife adapts it adding, "Why or why not?")

Have you ever......? Why or why not?

Many questions are easy to rephrase to fit your purpose.

These books should be available at any bookstore.

Lewis Johnson


97/01 From-> Mary Young <>
Subject: Re: journal topics

Take a look at Dr. Seuss's My Book About Me. (Dr. Seuss and Roy McKie,
Random House 1969, ISBN: 0-394-80093-1, $12). It's intended for *young*
kids to check off appropriate info about themselves, but it can serve as
a starting point for autobiographical info. This is primarily
self-descriptive (where I live, eye color, my hair, about me and eating,
my favorite pet, etc.), but I use parts of it that correspond to what
we're doing in class to get 1st year kids writing a bit. Later they will
illustrated and develop a "book" as a final semester project. (I teach
high school)

My Personal Journal of Self-Discovery (Candace Smith, Bookcraft, Salt
Lake City, UT, 1980, ISBN 0-88494-412-6, $5.95) is intended for teenage
members of the LDS Church, so there are references in it to things that
would not be useful for a public school class (my favorite stories from
the Book of Mormon, my relationship with the Savior and other religious
topics). There are good generic prompts such as, "I like to spend my
time thinking about..."; "If I could spend one day doing anything I
would..."; "My favorite possession in the whole world is my..."; "My
career plans and goals for the future include..."; as well as some cute
"check off" pages. Of course it is in English.

I also like The Kids' Book of Questions (remember The Book.of
Questions?) The questions can be a little too probing, and many require
use of conditional forms, but you can moderate that.

Today in French 2 we read a bit on French teenagers. I assigned a
paragraph and asked them to write (as in a journal) a parallel paragraph
about their own lives. This paragraph was about family expectations and
responsibilities. They will write a paragraph that starts with the same
opening line ("Dans une familly il y a toujours beaucoup de choses à
faire : ...) They will insert their own information to complete the

For advanced students in French I use the Questionnaire Proust. It was
developed by the famous author to get chit-chat out of the mundane. It
includes questions such as, "What is your idea of earthly happiness ?"
"What is the depth of misery for you?" "Who is your favorite historical
figure and why?" and more (better ones) that elude me right now.

I think the main idea of a journal is for kids to have an open-ended
prompt based on a topic they are equipped to talk about (i.e., have
access to necessary vocabulary and structures, and some experience.)
Given that, you can come up with sentence starters that come right out
of--or are inspired by--the textbook.

Mary Young


97/06 From->Rachel Elizabeth Joseph <>
Subject:      Re: journal eval

One thing that I personally do is when I am evaluating a journal, I
assess one or two things in the grammar every week; If we are working on
cases, that is what I'll pick on the most.  I also, however, do not
grade down too harshly.  In my opinion, the point of a journal is to get
them to
write; and remember, that there is very little difference at the 1st/2nd
year level and that is also true at the 3rd/4th year level.  While you
must not reinforce bad behaviors in grammar, also recognize that
sometimes it takes students a bit longer to get something, especially in
a language like German which has many rules which are confusing.  I look
to myself as an example here.  In high school, the German case usage was
very difficult for me; it took me several years to understand it and
learn it, but I kept at it until I got it. I think there is much truth
to the German adage: Uebung macht der Meister, & I wouldn't worry too
much if they're still making the same mistake after one year.  With
constant reminder and gentle reinforcement, they will get it, but
sometimes it takes longer than one year.

Rachel Elizabeth Joseph


97/09 From-> Cherice Montgomery <>
Subject: Journal topics

Did you all know that Chicken Soup for the Soul is also available in
Spanish under the title Sopa de pollo para el alma? I found my copy at
either Borders or Barnes & Noble in the Foreign Language Literature
section. I am going to have my upper levels read some of the entries in
it and then respond to them via oral or written journals.

Cherice Montgomery


97/09 From-> Katie Jenkins <>
Subject: Re: journals

I have a copy of The Book of Questions. I'm not sure where to find it as
it was a gift, but the author is Gregory Stock, Ph.D. and publisher is
Workman Publishing. The ISBN is 0-89480-320-4, which may help a
bookstore locate or order a copy for you. The suggested price listed on
the book itself is $4.95. Hope you are able to find a copy with this

bona fortuna
Katie Jenkins


97/10 From-> "Tennant, Ida L" <>
Subject: Re: Guatemala Habitat Project

A good post / during activity is to have students keep a journal, not
only with words but also with objects and pictures. A few weeks after
you return these little memorabilias will help you remember the things
you learned about the people you met, things you did, or failed to do.
It's a great way to remember and learn. Often, when returning from
trips, one rushes straight home without summing up. This activity is a
great way to help the experience congeal in their minds as a wonderful
learning experience.

I wish you luck on your trip and I hope you and your students learn a
lot about Guatemala and it's culture.

Ida Tennant

>I am writing this note as a request for input and ideas from you, a truly great
>group of creative teachers. During January 1998 a group of students from
>our local college will be going to Guatemala to work on a Habitat For
>Humanity project. I would like to take advantage of this event to involve my
>students in pre-trip and post trip activities with the college group and their
>leaders. Do you have any suggestions for activities or projects that we would
>be able to do?
>Thank you for your help.
>Russ Freerking


97/12 From-> Tim Boorda <>
Subject: Sample Journal Grading Sheet

Chers listeurs,
Here's the cover sheet I'm trying with this month's journal assignment
(levels 2 and 3). Students have been free to write whatever they wanted
(and to make mistakes). During the month of the assignment I have
noticed their willingness to try to communicate in French increase, and
they've been telling me (in French) how they are talking to each other,
thinking, and even dreaming a little in French. Take what you like and
forget the rest, please.

Le Journal nom ________________________________________ heure___________

Les dates: première entrée_______________________
dernière entrée _______________________

Combien d'entrées complètes avez-vous? ______________

Vous avez satisfait les conditions de ce devoir si vous avez ajouté de
nouveaux mots à votre vocabulaire français et si vous avez expérimenté
avec le français en écrivant de ce qui est important pour vous. Les
points que vous gagnez sont basés sur votre effort, mais vous perdez
quelques points pour des erreurs qui montrent que vous n'avez pas fait
attention à la grammaire que votre classe a déjà beaucoup étudiée.

[You have satisfied the requirements of this assignment if you have
added some new words to your French vocabulary and if you have
experimented with French while writing about what is important to you.
The points that you earn are based on your effort, but you do lose some
points for errors which show that you have not paid attention to grammar
that your class has already studied a lot.]

~À noter:
16 verbes avec être (aller, venir, monter, entrer, tomber, partir, devenir. . .)
Subjects and past participles agree for these verbs. Elle est allée.
adjectifs après le nom (sauf les communs, ex: bon, mauvais, grand,
petit, nouveaux, vieux)
bon, meilleur, le meilleur = good, better, best to describe nouns
bien, mieux, le mieux = well, better, best to describe verbs
en -- before feminine countries and countries starting with a vowel
au, aux -- before masculine and plural countries
à -- before cities
Je me suis bien amusé = I really had a good time
Nous nous sommes amusés. = We had fun.
J'attends avec impatience = I'm looking forward to, I just can't wait for
Je suis très content(e) = I'm really excited
Je joue du piano, mais je joue au foot.
DO PP Oui, IO PP Non, PP DO Non.
Past participles agree with preceding direct objects.
Il me parle. Il va avec moi. Je vais avec eux, avec elles.
Je pense à mes amis.
quelque chose de bon
Ils veulent que je parle avec eux après les cours.
Les vacances (
beaucoup, un peu, trop, assez, pas, besoin + de (simplement de, pas du,
de la, des)
Quand vous avez un adjectif après le partitif, il n'y a pas d'article:
de bons amis,
de beaux arbres, de nouvelles chaussures, de bonnes vacances, de petits

Tim Boorda


Our contributors are:

Stephanie Astorino
Madeline Bishop
Tim Boorda
David Christian
Janice Dirmeitis
Lydia Frank
Russ Freerking
Louise Giordano
Katie Jenkins
Lewis Johnson
Rachel Joseph
Clifford Kent
Patricia Kessler
Bill Mann
Mary McGehee
Cherice Montgomery
Brad Pearl
Bob Peckham
Jessica Roberts
Lynn Shirk
Lisa Strosin
Ida Tennant
Denise Page Way
Jo Anne Wilson
Mary Young

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