Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Math Journal Tidbits....

I've had a few ask about our math journals, so I thought I would do a quick post to show you how we use them and tie them into our math word wall. Our math curriculum coach shared these with us and seriously y'all, I don't know why I never did this before!?!

I stalk Target ever summer waiting for their composition notebooks to be on sale. When they are, I snatch up a class set. I am not picky about them all matching, so I usually just grab whatever. 

Q: How do you set them up? 

I printed the labels above on Avery address labels and wrote the kiddos names and classroom number on them. You can download the labels here. Nothing fancy - just simple to get the job done. 

Next up, I used return address labels and small colored stickers to create the tabs. These colors tie into our math word wall. Our math coach provided the smiley faces for us, but colored stars would work just as well if you are not able to find smiley faces. Our district uses blue, red, orange, green, and purple to color code each concept. 

For example:

Red = numbers and their relationships and how they are represented
Orange = Computation
Purple = Data
Green = Geometry
Blue = Measurement

I left 20 pages or so between each color. Some more; some less - just depends on how much you will do in one concept versus the others. 

I am sure you have all seen this on Pinterest, but I taped a ribbon to the back to create a bookmark for the kiddos to keep up with which page they are on. 

Q: How do they correlate to your math word wall, and what is a math word wall? 

With each new concept introduced, we create "vocabulary" cards to use as a reference during our learning. I have posted about this before, but I have to say it again. I think it is SO important for posters to be relevant and used during learning. I have been so guilty in the past years of hanging a cute little poster and not using it for anything other than decoration.  

The posters that we create for our math wall are nothing fancy or pre made. The only ones that have any clip art on them are our shape posters. I do not have any attributes etc listed on the cards - the kids do this during our introduction and throughout our learning. 

We create them as we go....

We use this wall every single day! Whether it be during our learning, reviewing, or when a student ask me what expanded form is....I tell them to check out our math wall and come back to me. We love it. 

The colors on the tabs in our journals match the colors of our math wall. 

Q: When and how do I use math journals?

It really just depends on what concept we are working on. When we learned about fractions, time, and shapes, we used them almost every day. Again, it really just depends on what I am teaching and what I am wanting the kiddos to produce. 

On the days that we use the journals, they are usually a part of our math stations. Have you read Reagan Tunstall's post about Guided Math? This is very similar to the rotations that we use in my class. She is the Guided Math guru! If you are looking to start math stations in your room, you MUST check her out. 

After teaching the lesson, I put the interactive page that I want the kiddos to use in their journals inside our Center 4 tub. 

The kiddos know that when they get to Center 4 if there is a page in it, then it goes in their journals. This used to say "journal", but I changed it to "Center 4" because if there is a day where we do not have a journal activity, then they complete the activity that is in the tub. It is usually a sort or match of some sore. The kiddos also know which color to put their journal activity behind. If they are not sure, I tell them to check our math wall. 

You can read more about our math stations here

Q: What activities do you use? 

I use activities that are applicable to what concept and TEK we are learning. Below are a few that we have used this year for time, shapes, graphs and numbers. You can find these here

We have also used Reagan Tunstall's Monthly Math Journals and they are wonderful. You can find them here.  

When the kiddos are finished with their journal activity, they put the ribbon over the page, close their journals and turn them in on the u-table so I can check them quickly and put a grade on them. Much easier than a pile of papers to go through! 

And last....
Q: Where do you store them? 

It is nothing fancy! We stack them together in this cute little tub I found for $1 at Target. 

 I hope I answered any questions that you may have. If you have any others, please leave it in the comments and I will answer them. I would also love to hear how you use math journals in your room!