Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Math Journals

Diary, Notebook, Calendars, Bibles  I am rethinking the idea of journals after reading about a teacher who has students write about all sorts of things from warm-ups to homework problems.

It used to be a math journal was only used for students to journal their thoughts and to summarize their learning.  In the last few years, the use of journals has changed.

Now journals can be used to:
1.  Take interactive notes.

2. Work their guided practice problems through.

3. Self-reflection.

4. Answer open ended questions.

5. Explain their thinking.

6. Share their answers on  homework problems.

According to  one document , journals serve several purposes.  They help
1. Increase student awareness of how they learn and remember.

2. Provide a record of student thinking.

3. To help students see that writing is a way of learning.

4. Provide a context for recalling previous learning and summarize current learning.

5. Provide a record of the challenges students face when learning new material.

Journal entries can be student or teacher directed.  Student directed journaling can involve their explaining how they feel, what they think, what they need to practice.  Teacher directed journaling covers material where the teacher asks the students to explain how a strategy works,  how to solve a problem, explain how to do something, explain an error in a problem, construct and model an answer for a problem, and support a point of view on why a certain way of doing something might be the best way.

One source recommends the teacher create an example journal filled with examples of what the students are expected to put in their journals.  This example journal is a quick way for students to check to see if they are doing things correctly.  Even though this suggestion is geared for elementary students, I can see using it in the middle school and high school for ELL learners.

I like the idea for creating an example journal for my classes because it becomes part of the I do, We do, You do method of teaching and it would help me plan what I'm doing in my class ahead of time.  I bet I could have students write down their answers to any scavenger hunt and comment on what parts they had trouble with.  It would provide another assessment.