I just wanted to give a brief update to my previous post. I have been using the learning diaries with my year 9 students on their low relief sculpture projects for about 4 weeks now.
As the students are nearing the end of their projects I'm seeing the value in these booklets. I have had the students write a daily target and then focus on a particular skill in each lesson. Once the tidy up was completed students then completed the second half of the daily diary, filling in the grey shaded area, explaining if they had or had not met their own target and why.
I also found this to be very helpful for me, as the teacher, in keeping the students focused on a particular part of the project and narrowing the lessons to help keep it a step by step project. I've found the results to be very enlightening. I've found the student's know exactly what they need to do and with a brief explanation from me at the beginning of a lesson, describing the 'Learning Ojective' and the skill they are to focus upon, with a quick demo students are able to write their own differentiated target for the lesson and work towards completing it. All tend to do it slightly different, but get there in the end. What I find amazing is the conversation students are having in between. Some are natural born leaders and are experimenting on there own while others are observing those around them in order to create their own plan and tend to be one step behind the others while others seems to working along the same pace but are sharing ideas and concepts as they go. All of this is documented in their learning diaries. If it were not for these booklets I may have never realised this was happening with some of my students.
This was very beneficial for me lately as my department had a subject review and my classes/ teaching was reviewed. All in all the review went well, students were all on task when observed and knew exactly what they were doing. When questioned, students referred to their learning diaries and could explain exactly what they were doing and needed to do to finish their projects.
All the best.