Math journaling is a great way to get insight into your students’ thoughts and problem solving strategies about math K-12! Learning how to do math is only one piece of the problem, they also must know how to articulate what they learning. Providing them with as many opportunities to do this as they have to learn the math, the better. This is where math journaling comes into play. Math journals are not the same as a math worksheet. Journals provide the student’s the ability to organize their thoughts, explain their reasoning and reflect on what they did correctly or what they would change next time. If this is your student’s first experience with math journaling, don’t get bent out of shape if they are not knocking your socks off. Give them time and encouragement, scaffold for them. The benefits of sticking with it will pay off. Math journaling provides children with:
Differentiation. They are able to work at their own ability level. For the younger children, some may still be at drawing pictures to explain their thinking while others may be writing out their thoughts.
It will allow for broader student learning while also allowing teachers to know what approach kids are taking to solve the problem and intervene if necessary.
Requires more than just remembering a sequence of steps.
Angela Watson of TheCornerstoneForTeachers had some great recommendations for math journal prompting. Here are some great places to begin.
-Prompts That Assess Attitudes: Students write about their personal thoughts and feelings about math. Examples: When it comes to math, I find it difficult to…, I love math because…, People who are good at math…, and When I study for a math test, I….
-Prompts That Assess Learning: Students write about what they’ve learned and reflect on what they know (and don’t know). Examples: The most important thing I learned today is…, I could use today’s skill in my real life when I…, Today I used math when…, At the end of this unit, I want to be able to…, and Some good test questions for this skill are….
-Prompts That Assess Process: Students explain how to solve problems or discuss a particular skill or strategy. Examples: Two ways to solve this problem are…, I knew my answer was right when…, Another strategy I could have used to solve this problem is…, If I missed a step in this problem, I could have…, and The most important part of solving this problem is to remember….Good luck getting started!