A math journal is one of the best ways to introduce writing into your math class. It helps students stretch their thinking and make sense of problems. When children write in their math journals, they examine, express and keep track of their reasoning.
help students become aware of what they do and do not know connect prior knowledge with what the student is studying summarize the students knowledge and give insight into understanding help the student raise questions about new ideas give the student a chance to reflect on what is known allow the student to construct mathematics for him or herself help the student keep his or her thoughts organized help address the issue of "math anxiety" help teachers answer specific questions such as: ◦ Does the student use mathematics to make sense of a complex situation? ◦ Can the student formulate hypotheses? ◦ Can the student organize information? ◦ Can the student explain concepts? ◦ Does the student use communication skills effectively? ◦ Does the student use appropriate mathematical language? ◦ Is the student confident in his or her abilities?
Writing about your thinking is challenging. It is best to start with open-ended prompts such as: I learned that… I discovered that… I was surprised that… I noticed that I…
The basic steps to think pair share-question-think-pair-share
Once students are comfortable with the Think-Pair-Share strategy, introduce Think- Write-Pair-Share strategy. As the students think about the question they also write their response in a variety of techniques such as webbing, pictures, numbers, and words.
Right now I feel… Write a question that looms large in your mind right now. One thing I would like to accomplish today is…
Once your students have had some time writing about their attitudes and feelings towards mathematics in their journals they are ready to write about familiar math concepts. Explain by using pictures, numbers or words what subtraction means. Explain what is most important to understand about fractions. Tips I would give a friend to solve this problem are.........
What was going through your mind when you solved the problem? (to reveal the reasoning process) What was interesting? (to see their curiosity) What helped you find the solution? (to articulate strategic thinking, to find patterns, to acknowledge the thinking of others) What are you wondering? ( to inspire further investigations, to perceive inquiry as an ongoing process)
When you feel your students are ready, ask them to write about more complex mathematical ideas. Present a graph from a newspaper and have your students write a paragraph about the graph. Explain a formula. Write everything you know about probability.
There are many ways to organize math journals and math writing. You must decide what would be best for you and the students in your class.
My favorite time of the day was… because… Tomorrow I will do ________ differently. Here’s how…
If you were to publish a bookabout yourself, what would youtitle it?
Choose from any of the photos on your table. Please attach them into your journal.