Math Journals: Making them think!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to all my fellow teachers! I am excited to be a part of the Best of the Best Blog Hop! About 100 teachers got together to share a little about one of the best products we have made and use in our classrooms. And we are even giving you a chance to win the products! 

My Favorite Product
Hands-down the best product that I have made is my Third Grade Common Core Math Journal.

I spent a good deal of time learning about the Common Core Standards last summer. The thing that struck me the most was that students weren't just being asked to compute. They also needed to be able to explain their strategy, why it worked and how they know their answer is correct. As I looked at the worksheets and assessments I had used last year- I knew they just wouldn't cut it. My kiddos would need lots of practice at writing about math! So I got to work making this journal that includes 100 prompts that cover every third grade math standard.

How I Use the Product:
This year I decided to print the entire journal and copy one for each student. I used the binding machine at school to make books for each student. 

The fantastic part about this is that I had some math center work already prepped for the entire year!

I organized the journals into book boxes and labeled them with student numbers.

At the beginning of the year, I knew that my students would not be ready to write in these journals independently. I was certain to provide lots of modeling of how I wanted the journals to look. I showed them how to use these sentence starters to improve our written responses.
Then we started doing the prompts together as a group. Finally, I had them do a few on their own and we went over them together as a group. When I was certain that MOST my students were doing high quality work, I turned it into a math center.

I do a math workshop with rotations in my class. The math journals are part of their independent work during these centers. At the beginning of the year, I would assign one journal prompt per week. I would just write the page number on the board. Now that my students are much better with their centers- I offer them some choice. They have a set of task cards (or two sometimes) and four journal prompts to complete during the month. They can choose to do them in any order they like as long as it all gets completed.

I noticed an improvement in my students' critical thinking skills almost immediately. Sometimes their responses are incorrect, but they give me some insight into where their thinking is off and where I can intervene with a reteach lesson.

Other teachers on my team like to photocopy the prompts that correspond to the standard they are teaching and give them to students in a worksheet format. Then they grade them and use them as standards based assessments. I plan to do something similar next year- but more on that soon. ;-)

Would you like to try my math journal for FREE with your third graders? Click on the picture to go to my TpT store. Download the preview for 5 FREE prompts!

Second grade teachers! I didn't forget you! I recently added a second grade version of my math journal to my store. 

Continue on The Best for the Best Teacher Appreciation Blog Hop by clicking the picture below.

Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd

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