Assessment Strategies
and Tools

Assessment During Journey North Studies

Journaling Questions

Journey North provides a variety of Journaling Questions on Activity/Lesson pages (and in some Journey North News updates) for each migration and seasonal project. Some questions require students to dig into and make sense of data; some ask students to puzzle out math, science, or mapping challenges; others ask students to reflect on Journey North experiences, think creatively, or make personal connections to material. Many questions model the thinking/questioning process that scientists use in their work. Often open-ended, they offer students examples of the types of questions they should be asking themselves.

Using journaling questions can help you address pressures to integrate writing into subject areas. The questions help students build and reinforce reasoning and problem-solving skills and understanding. Student responses help you assess their thinking, gains, and gaps, and their ability to draw from past knowledge as they build new understandings. You and your class can suggest additional or replacement journal questions that reflect your unique learning and assessment goals.

Some general journal questions to use for assessment
(and student self-assessment):

  • What do you know about ___ (e.g., tulip bulb growth)? What evidence do you have?

  • How do you think ___ relates to ___ ? (e.g., sunlight relates to animal migration?)

  • How would you explain ____ (e.g., the pattern of dots on this migration map)?

  • Write 3 questions, 2 new “ahas,” and 1 suggestion for digging deeper with this investigation.

  • How would you persuade ____ (e.g., community members) that it’s important to ____ (e.g., make gardens for wildlife)?

  • What have you learned this week about ____?

  • Draw a concept map to illustrate your understanding/thinking about ____ (e.g., food webs).

  • Discover one new thing from ____ (e.g., a butterfly observation session) and write about it.

  • Make and complete a chart with these headings: What I did, What I learned.

  • What is your opinion about ______? Why do you feel that way?

  • How did you get your answer? Is there another possible answer?

  • How would you rate yourself on _____ (e.g., graphing skills)?

  • What do you still want to know more about? How might you find out?

Consider asking students to read some entries out loud so you and classmates can ask questions, dig deeper into student thinking, and respectfully challenge it, if necessary. These sessions can also spark fruitful discussions and new questions to investigate.