Math Journals

Math journals support students to develop both math language and deeper math understanding
26 teachers like this strategy
Math Journals

About This Strategy

Math journals can be used regularly to support your students to reflect on and deepen their understanding of mathematical content. The goal is that through math journaling, students strengthen their understanding of their new math concepts while growing as writers and communicators. Math journals can also be used to help support mathematical discourse between students in your classroom. Math journaling is appropriate for all students and can be used as a daily or weekly activity in your math class.

Plan It

与数学期刊,在开始之前the time to think through the following questions will help make the more useful and effective:

  1. Consider your goals for using math journals to support your students. Journaling can help strengthen student writing skills and give students the chance to reflect on their own understanding

  2. Develop a process for math journaling. Consider the following:

    • Will students journal in a physical notebook or an online journal?

      • If students are using an online journal, consider how they will access their journals and any norms they need for using the technology.

    • How often will students journal? Daily? Weekly? After a certain point in a unit of study?

  3. Create class norms for math journaling. Consult the sample norms linked in the resource section below for ideas.

    • Consider developing the normswithyour students.

    • It can be helpful to have students add these expectations into their physical math journal or have this as an anchor chart in the classroom for students to review.

  4. Determine how math journals will be assessed. Consult the Criteria-for-Success linked in the resource section below for ideas.

    • Students may use the criteria for success to self-assess, to assess a peer, or you as the teacher could use them periodically.

  5. Develop or find journal prompts for students. Sample prompts are provided in the curriculum resource linked below.

    • Consider displaying or printing the prompts for students and having students tape them into their physical journals. See the example prompts below.

    • Depending on the experience levels of your students, it may be helpful to provide sentence starters that they could use to begin composing their responses.

    • Think about the kinds of responses that you want to encourage, based on your learning goals for students. Are they practicing using complete sentences? Making lists? Using and labeling diagrams? Or are you open to a range of types of responses?

  6. Decide if students will share their journal responses, and if so, whether they will share with a small group of peers or with the whole class. If so, develop a process for doing so. Consult the sample process linked in the resource section below.

Practice It

Now that you have planned for using Math Journals, it is time to try them out with your students.

  1. Introduce the idea of math journaling to students. Consider sharing the purpose of math journals, the criteria-for-success, how you will assess students, and if applicable, how students will share their journal responses. Ensure that students have their journals (digital or physical) and journal prompts and sentence starters.

    • Consider modeling a strong math journal response, as well as a not so strong math journal response. Have students identify what makes a strong response.

  2. Give students time to journal. Consider displaying a timer on the board.

  3. If you have time, have students share their journal responses in a small group or with the whole-class.

  4. Create time for students to self-assess on the criteria-for success for math journaling, or to reflect on what they got out of the experience.

Reflect and Refine

Math Journals is a strategy that will take time to refine in your classroom. After you begin implementing math journals, consider the following:

  • How is math journaling helping your students grow as mathematicians?

  • How is math journaling helping your students use and engage with mathematical language?

  • 如果学生分享他们的数学journal responses, how does this practice promote mathematical discourse?

  • What students are struggling with math journaling? What can you do to help eliminate these barriers to success?

  • How is your practice of assessing math journals? Does it feel sustainable? Is there an opportunity for students to self-assess or peer-assess their own math journals?

  • Are there certain math journal prompts that really promote deeper thinking? If so, which ones and why? Are there prompts that you want to revise? If so, how?

EL Modification

  • Consider providing a word bank to encourage use of specific math terms, as well as help students use and engage with new math vocabulary.

  • Display certain anchor charts to encourage use of academic language when students are writing or sharing their journal prompts. See below for anchor chart ideas or for ideas for accountable talk when students share aloud.

  • Consider providing students the opportunity to create an audio or video journal instead of writing. EL students could use Loom, Screencastify, Vocaroo, or Google Talk and Comment. Students could also use Google Voice Typing if writing is a barrier to journaling.

Coach Tip

  • I love daily journaling, but I know that I have to be deliberate in my own planning time to set aside time to read students' journals. I know myself and this always gets pushed unless I am careful about compartmentalizing my time to read students' journals. My experience has been that if students know I am truly reading their writing, they write with more detail and with more care.