Trout Journals

To encourage reflection about the trout and to help students keep a yearlong record of their thoughts and experiences regarding their trout.
Background:  By keeping a journal, students can slowly put together the story of the watershed and the trout they’re caring for.  Making these connections is important, to truly understand the big picture that unites trout, streams, reservoirs, and the water that flows from their tap.

premade notebook or handmade journal, images of trout, craft supplies such as old magazines to cut up, glue sticks, markers, glue, sequins, fabric, etc.


  1. First, introduce the idea of journaling, specifically around the topic of trout.  This first step should start before the trout eggs arrive in the classroom, perhaps just as the tank is being set up.
  2. Spend one period decorating and personalizing the trout journals.  Students may need images of trout and trout habitat for reference.
  3. Make trout journaling a regular event, whether it’s daily, weekly, or something in between.  Journal prompts can connect to a topic or theme of the day, to help reinforce other lessons.  Some ideas for prompts are below. 
  4. Allow and encourage the students to draw pictures in their journals, as well as writing text.

At the end of the year, ask the students to review their journals—to reread them.  Have the students pick a favorite entry or a few highlights to share with the class or a small group.  The students could choose one entry to expand and/or edit into a more formal essay.  They could also “publish” this entry, complete with a color illustration.

Trout Journal Writing Prompts

  • What are you looking forward to about having trout in the classroom?
  • What would you like to do with the trout, while they are with us?
  • What do the trout eggs look like?  Be very descriptive.  What do you see inside?
  • What would you like to say to the trout, to welcome them to our classroom?
  • What was hatching like?  How did you feel?
  • Observe one fish closely for one minute.  Follow it with your eyes.  What does it do?
  • How to the trout act in the morning?  The afternoon?
  • How do the trout act when it’s dark?  Light?
  • How do the trout act before feeding?  After?
  • How do the trout act in cold weather? Warm weather?
  • What is your favorite trout job?  Why?
  • What is your least favorite trout job?  Why?
  • What happens when we feed the trout?  Why do you think that is?
  • Are there any special trout in your tank?  Why are they special?
  • What do you think the trout see when they look out of the tank?  What are they thinking?
  • How have the trout changed over the past few months?  What is the same?
  • How do you feel about our upcoming release of trout?  Why?
  • What advice would you give our trout on their way to their new home?
  • What did you see while releasing our trout?  How did they behave?
  • How did you feel about releasing our trout?  Why?
  • What was the most important thing you learned from raising trout?

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