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The Use of Reflective

Journals in the Junior


By Lisa Wiparata and Jo Selbie

Our Aim

• To investigate how the use of

reflective journals influences and
develops children’s thinking
about their learning…
Research Question

• Does the use of reflective

journals enhance children’s
thinking about their learning?

• How will the use of De Bono’s

hats focus the children’s
What We Did And How We
Did It?

• We were interested in exploring

the use of reflective journals as
a tool for developing children’s
rich language when talking
about their learning experiences.
• We wanted children to be able to
articulate aspects of the learning
that had taken place.
• This was a project undertaken by 3
teachers in the junior syndicate. We
recorded in our class journals after
discussions, brain storms, mind maps
about learning that had taken place
that week.
• Teachers talked about appropriate
language use for the different hats
eg. Red Hat –
“I was amazed when…”
“Something special for me was…”
“I felt..”
• Teachers took photos of a
variety of learning experiences
over each week and these were
used to facilitate discussion and
focus children’s thinking.

• As the older children became

more experienced in focused
thinking about their learning
they moved into recording in
their individual Learning Logs.
• Ensuring photos had been taken
of different learning
• For the New Entrant teacher it
was difficult with the number of
children moving to new classes
and new children coming in to
keep the continuity going.
• Keeping the journals going
regularly with the number of
interruptions to the classroom
• Children responded very well to the
digital photos as it ‘jogged’ their
memories and focused them on the
learning that had taken place.
• The children were engaged when
contributing to the reflective
• The language used by the children
improved and became more
descriptive. They began to use a
variety of rich language rather than
copying what the child before had
• The older children were driven to ask
about the possibility of them starting
their own individual journals. This
Student Voice
“I like my Learning Log because I write about the things I have had
fun doing at school” By Anaia
“Sam and Fonz came to visit. We weren’t allowed to
pat the dog because it would make friends with the
person and they wouldn’t attack the bad person and
the dog wouldn’t take him to jail.

“ Every Friday I get to write about stuff I have done at school”

By Reuben
“ Room 3 painted mythological creatures. Reuben’s
was half giraffe half rabbit. It has a giraffes neck
and a rabbit’s head. It has a giraffe’s legs and a
rabbit’s tail.”

We do our Learning Logs every Friday and we have to write about

learning we have done at school”
By Anna
“ Every Tuesday my class do gymnastics and it is fun.
We do forward rolls and we jump off lots of things…