Here are a couple of things we have done in our math journals recently. I try to make sure that they write something everyday. I tell my students that "the scientists figured out that our brains remember things best when we do something, talk about it, and then write about it." It's pretty cute the way they take that explanation. I also refer to "the scientists" when I explain why they can't lay down on the carpet during a mini-lesson. :)
We have been starting to work on number combinations and putting numbers together. To help them get ready for this concept, we did a lot with 10 frames. (I've got a mini-unit all about 10 frames coming soon!) Here is an example of 2 of my students' math journal entries:
|I notice that there are 3 dots missing.|
|This is 4 because it has 4 dots.|
We also played a game from one of our curriculum resources where they basically play war with number cards. The difference is that they have to pick two cards and add them together. The player with the largest sum takes all 4 cards and puts them in their stack. Anyway, after learning that game today, I had them pull two cards and write a sentence about the sum in their math journals to solidify their thinking. Here are some samples:
|5 and 4 is 9.|
|3 and 4 is 7.|
|2 and 3 is 5 because I counted it.|
I always tell them that to be a "4 cupcake" they need to do more than I expect. I had quite a few kids have time to do 3 or 4 of these in 5 minutes, and a couple of students who exceeded expectations by writing because...
So, math journals don't need to be just for solving word problems anymore. I use them everyday even if it is just a simple sentence of what they practiced or got better at that day. "The scientists" really have proven that writing down thinking helps to solidify it!