I have been keeping my own visual journals for a few years. They tend to be conglomerations of note taking, sketches, collage, photo montage, my granddaughter's art, paper cutting, thoughts and ideas. Not only do I enjoy the activity of creating journal pages, other folks seem to enjoy browsing through them.
Since I have been curious as to how I could use visual journals in the elementary art room, I attended the session "The Visual Journal and Creative Possibilities"at the Virginia Art Education Association conference. The presenters were Eric Scott and David Modler. They have a blog called "Journal Fodder Junkies" and a book titled The Journal Junkies Workshop.
The presenters said that their own journals are used as personal tools for:
They described the qualities of manufactured journal books that you can purchase and then described ways that kids can create their own. They can be as fancy and high quality as your budget permits, or can be as low tech as folded drawing paper stapled together on the side.
For their high school students, the journal is a self directed activity. Friday is their designated "journal day," though students are required to put in a certain number of hours in the journal during the week on their own time. They experiment with techniques in the journal; take notes there; and work through their own ideas.
The presenters' book is interesting but not geared towards the classroom. It contains a lot of techniques for creating different kinds of art in a journal. I wish they would write a book on how to use the visual journal in a classroom and show lots of examples of student work.
I'll write this week about what my students are doing in their journals and maybe show my own as well.