PD Session 02 – Math Journals

Why Math Journals?

Journal writing can be a valuable technique to further develop and enhance your mathematical thinking and communication skills in mathematics. Journal entries in mathematics provide opportunities for individuals to self-assess what they’ve learned. When one makes an entry into a math journal, it becomes a record of the experience received from the specific math exercise or problem solving activity. The individual has to think about what he/she did in order to communicate it in writing; in so doing, one gains some valuable insight and feedback about the mathematical problem solving process. The math no longer becomes a task where by the individual simply follows the steps or rules of thumb. When a math journal entry is required as a follow up to the specific learning goal, one actually has to think about what was done and what was required to solve the specific math activity or problem.

Math instructors will also find that math journaling can be quite effective. When reading through the journal entries, a decision can be made to determine if further review is required. When an individual writes a math journal, they must reflect on what they have learned which becomes a great assessment technique for individuals and instructors.

To read more about math journaling, check out http://math.about.com/library/weekly/aa123001a.htm The paragraphs quoted above were taken from this site.

Last week, we asked teachers to respond to in their math journals to the following questions: How did you feel as you went through the levelized problems? How do you think the use of the gallery walk can help children learn?

Here is a synopsis of their responses:

  • Gallery walk – important due to talk/debate/justification
  • Levelized problems – confidence/help from working with others/socialization
  • Gallery walk – validated/empowered/new strategies
  • Validation for pairs vs. larger groups
  • More difficult with many members
  • Gallery walk – movement vs. sitting
  • Gallery walk – praise of peers

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