If you’re looking to be organized for the academic year, it might be time you start using a school diary to manage your academic responsibilities and track your learning more effectively; a tool that will help you reach your potential and hit your goals throughout the whole year at school.
A diary is a record of discrete entries arranged by date. These entries are a collection of records that can describe and track a student's life life over a period of time, typically on a daily basis.
An ideal and functional school diary will help students keep track of important school events, classes, their timetable, deadlines, and other information regarding their academics and co-curricular activities perhaps over the course of the school year. It can also be used to remind themselves of their responsibilities and tasks that they need to complete in the school day or in the evening.
School diaries can serve multiple purposes. Students can use it to reflect on their school experiences and share their thoughts and feelings about how they materialized. It could be a safe space to document the highs and lows of their school-going experience, where they can celebrate their successes and document the challenges that arise. A school diary can be a safe space for students to express themselves and be heard.
It can also be a place where they can track their progress and development by documenting their milestones, goals, and academic aspirations as they progress through their school years. This way, a school diary can be a consistently and steadily growing document that students write in to record and track the progress of their learning.
A school diary is a consistently and steadily growing document that someone writes in to record and track the progress of their learning, and it also has the potential to be both of comfort and inspiration for students.
A school diary can yield multiple benefits for a student while in school. It can be used to record lectures and classes, keep track of assignments and deadlines, and take notes during class or from reading material. It can also be a great way to reflect on their individual learning process – what works for them and what doesn’t so that they can make adjustments as needed.
More of such benefits include:
- Reducing your mental load to direct energy and attention to other things
- Being able to take note of important school events and deadlines
- Planning your school days and timetable
- Taking ownership of your work and time
A small, but significant way to reduce one's mental load is by using the student diary and organizer to record information and things that they would need to keep in mind. Students will be able to learn more effectively in class if they take things off of their heads (e.g. “English Assignment due on Thursday” and “Swim lessons on Monday evening”) and dump them into the diary instead.
When students have a diary on hand, whether physical or digital, they can conveniently record important dates, submission times, or school events on the go as they receive information. With digital diaries, they can also set reminders for when these dates are approaching to give themselves a heads up. This allows them to plan their time better and allows for preparatory time to finish up assignments as per their stipulated deadlines.
A school diary can be a tool to plan your personal timetable. The night before, students can plan for the following day in a detailed manner so that they can mentally prepare yourself for the day better and not have to scramble in the morning to get themselves together.
Using a calendwer in the student diary itself would allow them to plan ahead for study tasks and manage time effectively. Moreover, daily to-do lists for school time and as well as after school can be used as a checklist as they get through the day.
Apart from writing essays and taking examinations, students can also write for better mental health. By journal writing in their school diaries, students have a safe space to express their feelings, reflect, and understand their emotions better as well as gain confidence in their writing skills at the very same time.
Students may have a lot of pent-up anxiety, stress, and sadness. Journaling can be a cathartic process that would help them release their emotions and stress by transferring their thoughts and frustrations onto paper and into words. Sometimes, the act of writing itself does the job of relieving tension. Journaling can also help students to step back, reread their entries, gain a different perspective and find solutions to problems better.
Some other benefits that students who engage in regular journaling include:
- Encourages free flow of ideas and thought
- Provides a safe space, because unlike other writing assignments, journals are not assessed or graded
- They can make mistakes without fear and learn from them as they free-write
- Helps students find their voices by empowering them to be more vocal with their opinions and thoughts
- Encourages personal reflection
Keeping a school diary also encourages students to take ownership of their work. It instils a sense of responsibility in students, and gives them the chance to take control of their own learning and responsibilities. As they progress through the school years, they’ll be set with more homework and even more responsibility. Thus, getting into the habit of keeping track of their timetable, progress, homework and learning from an early age prepares them for exam life as they move through their education.
Here are some things a student can record in their school diary to use it to its fullest potential:
- Writing down important school event or dates
- Keeping track of classwork and assignment deadlines
- Take notes from classes
- Reflections on their learning experiences
- Taking down questions that they would like to raise to their teachers
The purpose of a school diary is to document your tasks and events so that you can remember them. Don’t wait until you get home to write down your homework. This way, you can easily access it and take a look at your reminders whenever necessary. Write your homework tasks and their due dates in your checklist side, and write upcoming events, deadlines, exam and assessment dates and other important reminders in your calendar side.
It’s important that you categorize different types of information and dates to ensure that your school diary stays organized.
Use different colored pens in diary to represent the things you need to do for each of your subjects. This way, with color coding, being able to look at your tasks and events by priorities will help you work out what you need to complete first. This will also be more exciting for your brain than black pen on white paper and you’ll know exactly what needs to be done for each of your different subjects.
For instance, you can use a different color for:
- Assessment tasks due within the next week
- Homework due the next day
- Previous week’s incomplete homework that need to be carried forward
- Reminders/deadlines for next week’s events/school activities
The goal of having a school diary is wanting to build a good habit of consistently using your diary throughout the year for your organization and time management. So, what’s a better way to motivate yourself than decorating it? Use stickers, draw wherever you please, and personalize the cover to make it your own.
Getting students to use a school diary to keep track of their learning, plan their time, help with sticking to deadlines, and journaling about their learning is a valuable skill that will help them in the future when it comes to revising for exams, pursuing higher education, and generally taking responsibility for their own time management.
While some students use digital tools to keep track of their time and academic progress, others may find it helpful to maintain a physical journal instead. There is no “right” way to keep a school journal. What is important is that each student finds a method that works for them and that they are diligent in recording what they need to to excel at school.