Typically by the third day of school, I have math journals up and running in my classroom. Have you ever tried using a math journal with your students?
Maybe you’ve had a bad experience with the glue, cutting or students taking one million years to copy a word problem in their journal?
Even though it’s hard at first, most students do learn valuable lessons from using their math journal on a regular basis.
The Different Ways to Use a Math Journal
There are so many options out there.
Some teachers use them strictly for students to practice word problems using journal prompts. Other teachers let students copy down examples from the board or overhead as they break down a new strategy or concept.
Interactive journals take it to a new level and students cut out and glue a range of activities from foldables to random shapes for a matching activity.
What is the Ideal Math Journal?
All of this comes down to preference. I prefer the interactive math journal but without all the small pieces. I can’t handle students using three pages to work out one problem or watching the time slip away as they cut out the tiny pieces of paper that will probably end up scattered under their desk.
I wanted something efficient but also engaging for students.
How to Set Up Your Math Journal
I’ve found that keeping one whole page per lesson as a reference inserted into their math journal for the day worked best.
Students could refer to the examples throughout the lesson. I didn’t have to worry if they copied something incorrectly or didn’t get time to finish.
It also made it easier to share with students that were absent or sent via Class Dojo to parents for a glimpse of what we were learning that week.
On the second page, I prefer more student involvement. I suggest a whole piece of paper but one with blanks and opportunities for students to practice with you or a peer.
The rest of the activities for the standard are more interactive. Cutting out matching games or journal prompts as partner or independent practice.
This way students are able to work at their own speed and it’s okay if they don’t finish the whole lesson because it’s just acting as a reinforcement of what they already completed with you.
It also motivates them to move quickly with the first two parts, so they have time to work with a partner.
Let me know in the comments below if you use math journals in your classroom?