Jan 8, 2013

Math Journals...What A Difference It Has Made

A couple weeks ago I took an evening "math" class for 4 nights.  I will have to say it totally changed how I do Math Journals in my classroom.  It was like the "LIGHT BULB" turned on for me with math journals.  In just 2-3 weeks, I have seen my kids improve greatly with their problem solving.  Here is what I do with my math journals:

We all bring our pencils and math journals over to the carpet area.  I have the students whisper read the journal on their own.  Once everyone is settled on the carpet, we read the problem together.  Then we go back and circle the key words/numbers  that will help them solve the problem.  I don't discuss with the students if the problem is addition, subtraction, or comparing numbers.  

As soon as we have read the problem, I send them back to their seats and set the timer for 5-6 minutes.  I call it GIVE ME 5.  The students solve the problem independently for 5 minutes on their own without any talking.  Once the timer goes off, they bring their journal over to the carpet area.  (NO PENCILS ALLOWED... so they don't change their answers)  

Then I call a random person to come up and explain how they solved the problem.  Once they are done, the student says are there any questions.  Then if there are questions, the student answers the questions.  If there are no questions or when the questions are done, we all clap for the person who shared.  I choose 3 "RANDOM" people at a time to share.

I don't only choose students who have the right answers.  Sometimes people have solved the problems wrong and someone will say where did you get '10' from.  If the student figures out that it is wrong, then we give him/her time to go back to fix it.  Once they have fixed it they bring it back over to share.   

I will share pictures this week of how the kids have been solving our math journal problems.  In just 3 weeks of doing math journal this way, I have seen the kids ask better questions from one another, solve problems differently, and become confident problem solvers.  I keep names of students I have called on each day so that I get to everyone explaining their answers at least every other week.

If you don't currently use a math journal in your classroom, check out our January Math Journal on TPT by clicking here for a direct link:  January Math Journal.  It is so easy to put together and only $2.00.    Just copy, staple, and it is ready to go!

How do you do your math journals?  We would love to know what works best for you and your class...


Dominique Morgan said...

What a fabulous idea! I've been using your math journals since October. LOVE them!

Busy Bees said...

Give it a try. We would love to hear how it works for you. Thanks~

Angie said...

I love this idea! We currently do math journals on Fridays, where I give them a fairly tricky problem to solve and a variety of manipulatives to solve the problem. It can take most of our math time, so I like the idea of a shorter version like you describe. Do you do journals daily? How long do you have for math each day?

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Paulina Cameron said...

I love that you have shared your experience here. It is good to see that the method you have you used provoked great success in the students ‘ ways of problem solving. I am a beginner teacher, so I won’t be of great help, but I would love to hear more from you and try your methods at my class and how it goes. I prefer finding new worksheets and ideas online, where now you can buy essay and everything. There is plenty of advice and helpful tips that aid the beginners, but nobody tell about their experience as interesting as you do. Thank you.