How to Use My Nature Journal
In My Nature Journal, you will introduce students to the natural sciences through purposeful nature study. Talk a walk. Find a patch of lichen, a beetle, or an ant hill, and allow the student time to draw everything he sees. Nudge his drawings with questions provided for you, or create your own to spark attention to detail. “What colors do you see?” “How many legs does the beetle have?” “What shape is the ant hill?”
Each journal page provides a large font space for writing. He may write his own observations, or you can create simple copywork sentences from his spoken words. “He is crawling on the leaf!” or “He looks fuzzy.” Find another fact or two from the animal and plant classifications provided for you in My Nature Journal. “A caterpillar is an insect. Insect have six legs.” Record only complete sentences.
When all sentences are recorded on the page, whether dictated, copied, or written, the teacher or student then reads the words aloud. In this manner, you will help the student create a delightful record of his own nature study while cultivating his powers of observation.
Select the level of writing based on our student’s ability.
Step 1 – Dictating and Scribing
If the student does not yet write words or sentences, simply record his spoken words, as he observes and draws. Through questions such as those provided in the front of the journal, ask questions to evoke descriptions. If desired, the student and teacher may add another fact from the classifications in the journal, from a field guide, or elsewhere. The teacher writes in complete sentences directly into his journal. The teacher or student then reads the journal entry.
Step 2 – Copywork
If the student can form letters and words, simply elicit oral descriptions as described above. Then writes a sentence or two from the student’s own observations. The student and teacher may wish to add another fact or two, if space permits. The teacher writes the information in complete sentences. The student copies the sentences into his journal. The student or teacher reads the entry aloud upon completion.
Step 3 – Writing
If the student generates thoughts easily and writes sentences well, he may wish to write his own words into the journal. These may be prompted through discussion with questions from the front of journal for more vivid descriptions. The teacher gently corrects for capitalization, punctuation, and spelling as he writes. The student then reads his journal entry aloud.