You do a GREAT job teaching a unit to your students. Tons of hands on practice, everybody seems to get it, all around great results.
Full of joy and confidence and patting yourself on the back, you finish up the unit, and move onto something else.
Then, a few months later, you refer back to what you taught. But…
Despite having all understood it perfectly weeks ago, almost every student stares blankly back at you, as if they have no idea what you are talking about!
It’s happened to me – more than once!!!
My first two years of teaching, I would teach a unit, and then move on. But, I quickly realized that my students were forgetting previous units as their brains made room for new information, and buried the things that I had taught that they were no longer actively using (likely in order to make room for the new information!).
That did not sit well with me, and I knew I had to find a solution.
What’s my solution?
Here are 5 reasons I think you should give them a try:
Math journals review concepts and vocabulary that we have been working on all. year. long!
There is nothing worse than when you learn a concept in September/October, evaluate it for report cards, and then never speak of it again for the rest of the year. It drives me CRAZY when that happens, especially with math. You know that they will need to dust off those skills for next year!
Second-language students also need as much exposure to important vocabulary as they can get, and sometimes math words aren’t used that frequently in other subjects. While completing math journal problems, students will be practicing listening to and following oral directions, en français.
They give kids who may not have been ready to really grasp a concept earlier in the year the chance to keep trying and eventually get it.
I have kiddos who just could not get patterning with more than two elements in October. They could barely speak French, so it really wasn’t their fault that they were lost!
Now, they are patterning champs!
With math journals, we revisit patterning over and over again. This gives my students opportunity after opportunity to get it right, even after we have moved on from that unit.
If we had not been practicing patterning all throughout the year, these students probably wouldn’t have the foundation they will need to be successful next year.
They force my “math whizzes” who like to do everything in their heads to draw a picture.
In fact, it kind of tricks them into it and they don’t even complain ;)
I am proud of my students who have very strong mental math skills, but someday they will arrive at a question that is too complicated or has too many steps to do in their head.
I want these students to know what to do, and have a whole bunch of strategies at the ready for when this day comes!
You can easily use them to teach vocabulary and link them to themes you are teaching in the classroom.
This year, for example, Saint Patrick’s Day happened over March Break. The week before March Break was Semaine de la francophonie. We did not have very much time for any fun Saint Patrick’s Day activities.
But, I still taught them words like “farfadet”, “pièce d’or”, “trèfle”, etc. via math journals!
We do questions about all sorts of relevant, seasonal things. By having different prompts for each month, you can ensure 5-10 extra minutes of vocabulary that is key for that time of year – during your math block!
This extra exposure is so important for my FSL learners! I get my kids to share their work with a partner after we are finished, so it gets them talking and comparing even more.
They take less than 10 minutes a day.
Seriously! 12 max if you add the partner share at the end.
Below is a picture of the journals that we use. They are unlined, which encourages my students to draw.
This is our second set of the year – the first set had cute little labels on them. I am a little less concerned with cute once we hit mid-year ;) #realtalk
Here are a couple of pictures of some Saint Patrick’s Day-themed entries:
If you want to give Math Journals a try in your classroom, I have great news!
You can get a sample of my math journals for FREE by CLICKING HERE and filling out your info.
Once you enter your name and email address, I will send you a page of journal prompts for each month of the year (Sept-June) for maternelle AND première année.
Enjoy your week!!!