Nature Journaling is a powerful adjunct to teaching science and should be a standard part of every classroom. Journaling is an ideal way to explore with the Next Generation Science Standards. Here you can find links to three outstanding free resources: How to Teach Nature Journaling, Opening the World Through Nature Journaling, and The BEETLES curriculum.
How to Teach Nature Journaling is the comprehensive guide for educators, parents and those who wish to mentor others to develop journaling skills. It is available both as a printed book and a free PDF download. If you love the book, please consider making a donation or purchasing a copy from my store if you are able to do so. Order or download it here.
The second edition of the acclaimed curriculum, Opening the World through Journaling: Integrating art, science, and language arts, is also available as a free download. Download the curriculum here. Much of the material in this guide has been updated and revised in How to Teach Nature Journaling. This edition was created with the support of the California Native Plant Society by John Muir Laws, Emilie Lygren, Emily Brueunig, and Celeste Lopez. This edition can be used in schoolyards, camps, nature centers, and family outings. It is geared primarily towards children age 8 and up, and meets California state standards for grades 3 through 7 but works just as well for teenagers and adults. The 2nd edition has many improvements and a wonderful new section of poetry writing activities. These activities teach children to become keen observers of the natural world by drawing and writing about plants and animals in the field. In a set of nested games and activities, students gain confidence in drawing and writing as a way to gather information. Using a set of key prompts, children and adults also discover a language to create poetry from their observations. They employ these skills and tools to put together a field guide, make treasure maps, and write poems and stories. Keeping a field journal develops and reinforces the most important science process skills; observation and documentation. All other parts of the process of science depend on these skills. We assume that we are naturally good observers, but learning to really see is a skill that must be learned and developed. Journal activities tie directly to the State of California science framework content standards and the visual and performing arts framework content standards. This project is funded to date by the JiJi Foundation.
Also, consider joining our How to Teach Nature Journaling Facebook Group, where we are building a community of nature journaling educators to ask questions, share strategies, and inspire each other on this journey.
I am an advisor for the BEETLES (Better Environmental Education, Teaching, Learning & Expertise Sharing) team at the Lawrence Hall of Science. I highly recommend the Field Journaling Sessions and materials. Download the free lesson plans and staff training manual here. Here is a video overview of this work.