Sunday, December 2, 2012

The One About Math Journals

So, Math journals.  Do you use them?  Know what they are?  I have to admit.  I'm still somewhat of a newbie when it comes to them, but I am totally addicted.  I'd been hearing about the concept for a little while, but never made the time had the time to check it out.  However, in October, one of the sellers I follow on TPT was posting weekly Math journals for free!  Free!  I love me some free stuff.  T-shirts, food, and classroom resources.  So I thought, why not give it a shot?  I loved the format and it seemed like a fun way to enrich my Math curriculum.  I dove in and haven't looked back.

I'm sure there are a gazillion different types of Math journals out there and just as many ways in which you can use them in the classroom.  However, for me, I have found that using them as Morning Work is the best.  Since the kids come into the classroom at varying times, the activity should be easy to grasp, self-explanatory, and not too time-consuming.  So that's what I do.  My kids know to come in, unpack, and work on the Math journal entry for that day.  Then, before we begin our Math lesson each day we go over that day's entry together on the ELMO and we have a chance to discuss it and the skills/concepts covered.  It's worked beautifully in this way and my kids have really responded well to it.  They will even go back and work on previous days' entries if they were absent.

So, I used the October freebies and fell in love.  But I begin thinking to myself, I could do this.  I could make my own Math journals.  Not that the ones I had downloaded weren't great, they were, but if I made them myself, I could ensure that they would tie into the skills and lessons we would be working on that month.  So I was inspired.  I made my first set for November and posted those to TPT.  By now my kids and I were hooked.  Toward the end of the month they were already asking me if I had the December ones ready (they know I make them myself as I may or may not have used that to increase the "oooooohhhhh" factor for them.)  November flew by and before I knew it Thanksgiving had passed and I didn't have my December Math Journals completed (or even begun to be honest).  Remember though, I told you I was an addict, and I needed a fix.  Plus, I love me some routine and procedures so I couldn't just not have Math journals!  Gasp!  That would be horrible!  So, I pushed it and used every spare minute of the day I had to get another month done.  Luckily December is so short once you factor in Christmas break, I didn't need to create a full 5 weeks as I had for November.  

Tomorrow we begin them and I am so excited to have them ready to go on the students' desks in the morning.  This month the 5 skills I've covered include subtraction, tally marks, place value (tens and ones), even/odd numbers, and probability (certain, possible, impossible).  As I did with November, each week's entries are progressively a little more difficult while maintaining the same format.  Just in case I've swayed you (as a Math journal convert) or have piqued your interest (as a current Math journal junkie) I have a freebie for you to preview.  It's the Monday and Tuesday entries for the first week.  Click on the picture below to download it.  If you like it, head on over to my TPT store and check out my whole December Math Journal packet!

So, what are your thoughts on Math journals?  Intrigued?  Eager to try them out?  Do you already use and love them?  How do you use them in the classroom?  I just had to share and post about this since it's one of my (many) new addictions!

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