## Sunday, April 29, 2012

### Math Journal Sundays ... Kicked Up A Notch

This post is dedicated to Mor over at A Teacher's Treasure.  Last weekend I watched her video on Interactive Student Notebooks (click on the link to check it out for yourself) ... and I was so inspired I knew I couldn't wait to "kick it up a notch" again in my math journals.  This was the piece I was missing in my math journals - and before I watched the video I didn't even realize I was missing something.  Her interactive student notebooks are based on the right side and left side pages.  The students' right side of the notebooks all contain the same information (direct from the teacher).  The left side of the notebook contains the students' thinking, knowledge, and reflection on the lesson.  She has a terrific resource packed with over 100 templates for "left side of the page thinking".  You can see it by clicking here (and it's even on sale right now!).

I couldn't wait until September to start using the ideas in her fabulous resource, so we started using her strategies this week.  On Monday we were learning about Order of Operations.  I took them outside for a fun order of operations hopscotch, then we used the sidewalk chalk to fill the basketball court with problems and solutions.  You can read my post about it here.  So of course, we needed a foldable to go along with our new knowledge.  I needed it to be quick and easy because I wanted to spend time discussing our new "left side" thinking.  So, quick and easy it was.  We used sticky notes and arranged them in a hopscotch pattern (to tie in our outside activity).  Underneath each sticky note was the word for each step (under the "B" was brackets).  I added a little extra information (including our learning goal) for them to copy, and that was that.

This is the left side of the journals.  Students rewrite the learning goal from the right side of the page (in student-friendly language).  Then they write "What I Know".  We do this before we do the lesson (it's highlighted in green to show that now we can "go" on with the rest of the lesson).  After the lesson they write "What I Learned", "Proof" (where I want them to write a problem and solve it), and then a "Reflection" - this one is completely up to them - they can reflect on and show their learning in ANY way they want.  This particular student wrote a mnemonic device for memorizing the steps to order of operations.

After our test midweek, we started our next unit.  This short unit encompasses angles, triangles, and polygons.  We started with angles.  I wanted to do a fun, interactive element to our journals, so we made angles using two coloured pieces of construction paper cut into arrows, and attached them to our pages with a brass fastener.  I had them glue the bottom arrow to the page, leaving the second arrow free to move into whatever angle needed.  We practiced how to measure an angle, then I had them create angles of various degrees.  The red colour made it very easy for me to see who had the concept right away, and who needed a little extra assistance.

We added a foldable underneath our interactive angle tool.  It was a three fold foldable.  We wrote the titles of the angles on the outside.  Underneath each flap we had a diagram of the angle, a definition, and examples from the classroom.  The students really enjoyed finding the different examples in the classroom.

The students also completed a "left side" for this activity, too.  For the reflection, a lot of my students completed a picture of some sort of picture with the different angles labelled.  But one of my favourite reflections was this girl who wrote a little song to remember the different angles.

I'm so excited about the evolution of my math journals!!!  My mind is already swimming with ideas for next year.  Thank-you SO much, Mor!

Happy Sunday!!!

1. I LOVE it!!!!!! You jumped straight into it and it looks amazing!!! You rock!
What a great way to integrate it into Math! Thanks for the shout it :) I appreciate it. Of course as I was looking at the posts it I saw a different combination in my head (I'm terribly influenced by Grey) and that made me giggle a bit. How did the kids react to the change?

❤ Mor Zrihen from...
A Teacher's Treasure
Teaching Treasures Shop

1. The kids liked it! We've been doing so much reflection this year, they didn't bat an eyelash when I added it on. I think they're really going to like the reflection part - I'm already seeing so much creativity, and we're only one week in.

2. You are an inspiration to teachers and students everywhere! I love your passion for teaching and it really shows through your blog. Thank you for helping others love teaching again, specifically me!

1. Thank-you SO much! Your comment brought such a smile to my face! I hope you find lots of ideas you can use in your classroom!

3. OK, you two make me wish I taught math . . . and THAT's always been an inside joke because I totally cannot even balance my checkbook without a calculator . . . .thanks for sharing these fun strategies. I am bookmarking this for the Blogs Are A Teacher's Best Friend summer workshop I'm presenting!!

Barbara
The Corner On Character

1. Thank-you so much, Barbara! Your workshop sounds so fun - can't wait to read more about it!
(and btw - I wasn't feeling very "mathy" today when I was trying to figure out my income taxes ... due tomorrow ...).
Have a wonderful week!

4. Hi Jen:

At my blog, I was worried about what I would post about during summer...

This made me want to skip summer (WHAT?!) and just start teaching a new group of kids--with all of the great strategies I have learned from BOTH of you!

Thanks for all of the happy thoughts in my head!

Kim
Finding JOY in 6th Grade

1. Don't wish summer away yet - I still two FULL months to go! (but I DO know what you mean - my mind is already spinning with ideas for language notebooks next year).
Have a JOYful week!

5. I love it...as always! I love how you make the notebook so interactive and USEFUL for the kids. I am filing away the arrow angles for next year. Fabulous! Thank you for sharing.

~Stephanie
Teaching in Room 6

1. Thanks, Steph!

6. I am so glad I found your blog. Now a devoted follower. Crazy, silly question: what do you use to attach the foldable to the journal? Glue stick? Glue?
Susan at RodriguezRockStars.blogspot.com

1. Thanks, Susan! I find white glue works best - the glue sticks just don't seem to hold the same as the journals get a lot of use.

7. Thanks! I always share your ideas with the math teachers at my school.

learnplayandhavefun.blogspot.com

1. Thank-you so much, Jessica!

8. Thank you for sharing! I love adding the left page as reflections. Can't wait to start my math journals next year!!!
Meredith

1. Thank-you so much! I am loving the left side additions, as well! Can't wait to see this journal evolve even more next year!

9. Love, love, love the red rays! I will be doing this soon!

1. Thanks, Kelly! It's funny how the littlest things can something make the biggest difference. It was so easy to see all the students' work this way!

10. hey jen i am wondering how i can try to squeeze in sll your great ideas before the end of the school year. Reading all the wonderful comments is a true testament to what an inspiration you are. love it like always. mary at apopovic@primus.ca

11. this is such a great idea. I used notebooking in science and social studies this year but did not think about using it for math. Thanks!

12. I love your angles especially placing the moveable rays in there! How awesome! Unfortunately, I wont teach math next year... just science:) but I will definitely share this idea with the new math teacher! Youre amazing Jen!!!

13. I found your blog through Pinterest. Love the ideas. I'm making a notebook this summer before using it with the kiddos. I've always used what I call a "Cheat Sheet" in Math. I call it that because the kids think it is cool to cheat in math! It is in a notebook like this, but not interactive. This will be my cheat sheet on steroids! Thank you so much for all the ideas. I can't wait!

14. I just found this on pinterest, as a BT who finds my maths lesson so boring this is so helpful!! thank you thank you!!

15. I wanted to see if I was correct in that you are creating a resource for math journals. I'm hoping to find something to help me out with this as a new endeavor this year.

Thanks!
Mindy

16. I am trying this "Left side of the page" idea with my team this year. I really can't wait! I love all your ideas, and I see this fitting into our new Common Core so well! Thanks so much for sharing your amazing ideas and teaching strategies with us!

17. Which resource did you use to help you start using math journals originally?

18. Hi. I've just discovered your blog and I love it! I teach in Ontario (I think you do also).

I have a question about your math instruction. Do you do problem solving lessons with open and/or parallel tasks? Do you use BANSHO, Gallery Walks and other ways of sharing? I'm asking because I'm trying to figure out how to use the interactive Math Journals within the context of the collaborative problem solving math class. The journals seem more aligned with direct instruction. Maybe they are used after problem solving?

If we give the learning goal before the problem then that limits the actual problem solving I think. I'm curious about your thoughts on combining the problem solving "discovery" model with the journals.

19. Hello-
I just discovered your materials and I love them! One of the many items I purchased from Teachers Pay Teaches is the Writing Goals Chart. I would like to add other goals to the chart and would like the chart to maintain its look. Would you be able to send me a sheet with the black background which are blank with the aqua, royal, purple, green, magenta stars. If there is a fee I would gladly pay for it. Thank you1

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