Sunday, September 19, 2010

Writing Journal - Enhancing Memory Retention

Last year I posted about the Creative Writing Journal we kept throughout the year. In it Gess would write down something that she learned that day. I started with the sentence "Today in school I learned about..." and she would write down one subject or topic and draw a picture about it. By the end of the year she was writing the entire sentence. Our goal for the journal was to not to simply work on writing skills, though it is helpful for that, but to help Gess answer the question "What did you do today?" In order for her to answer that, she had to think about what we had done. Since her memory retention was limited she almost always just said the last subject we studied unless I cued her to remember another subject (which I often did.) So this year, her speech therapist and I came up with an idea that we hope will help Gess retain the information throughout her day.

To challenge Gess a bit we decided that this year we would have Gess choose two things that she learned during her day instead of just one. In order to assist her in remembering what all she has studied we decided to have a sort of visual check list that she will fill out at the end of each subject. Then, when she goes to write in her journal, if she can not remember what she learned she can reference this to help her remember. So I found images that I thought would be helpful for each subject and made this list.

So after we finish reading she writes down the subject for that day which might be the subject of the story we read or simply just "spelling" or "vocabulary" and things like that. Then we circle exactly what we did for that topic. For each subject (except for writing) I have the following images: (These will vary depending upon your own curriculum and subjects, etc.)

Reading - For read text book, reader, etc.

Each subject also has an image or two that represents unique things we do in that class. Below are a list of unique images by subject:

Reading - Spelling Words
Math - Blocks/Manipulatives
Writing - Free Writing, Chalk Board Work
Science - Lab/Experiments
Social Studies - Map Work

I then have an "Other" category for days we may do something extra or special. I have yet to use that column.

So when it is time for our journal I will have her write the sentence "Today I learned about..." I first see if can think of two subjects on her own (so far she has not). If she can not remember on her own she just turns to her sheet.

Then she writes the sentence and draws a picture. It comes out something like this. (We are working on penmanship and staying in the lines, but that is not my main focus here.)

I will be anxious to see if by the end of the year she will be able to fill out her journal without the use of the sheet. If she does seem to pick up on it and not need it I will enhance it by having her write more than two subjects at a time. I want it to remain a challenge for her memory retention as well as a tool to use at the end of the week to share with her daddy the favorite things she learned about in school.

1 comment:

Tara said...

I just love all the practical stuff you post about. It THRILLS me to see her writing, too! Thank you!


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