I first want to thank-you for your response to my Interactive Math Journal resource - the response has been overwhelming (in a good way). My math journal was the #4 top seller for TeacherspayTeachers last week, and the comments you have given me there and on my blog have been incredible. Thank-you SO much!
So, onto our brand new year. For those of you that don't know, I teach at a small school, so my grade 5/6 class has all the grade 5 and 6 students in the school. Therefore, I have each grade for two years. Because of this, I have to keep things different each year (don't want to bore those kiddies). When I pulled out the notebooks and told the class we were going to do math journals again this year, my grade 6 students actually cheered. They told the grade 5 students how cool they were, and how much they were going to enjoy them. LOVE. I told my grade 6 students that many of the concepts we cover in our math journals will be the same this year, but we will be taking a different spin on them, and creating new interactive tools.
We've only been back at school for 4 days - the first day was a fun, welcome to our class kind of day, and on Friday we had a School Spirit assembly during my math block. So, we only had two full blocks of math class this week. (Sidenote: the way I've worked my schedule this year gives my a 100 minute block of math first thing in the morning 4 days a week. On the fifth day we have a 60 minute block in the middle of the day).
This week has just been about setting up our journals (we have also been reviewing operations and basic skills during the rest of our math blocks). We are using plain old 3-hole, lined notebooks for our journals (80 pages). We spent part of one of our classes decorating the covers of our math journals. I want students to take ownership of the journals, and make them something they're excited to see. I let the students decorate them by creating collages with pictures and words from magazines. I did ask them to include the words "math journal" somewhere on the cover. Just before the end of the day on Friday we quickly covered our journals with a coat or two of mod podge. This will (hopefully) keep the images from coming off. The students will keep their journals in their math binder, so they do have some protection in their desks.
We also began setting up our journals this week. I showed them pictures of "left-side of the page thinking" and we reviewed the handout I created for my interactive math journal resource. We glued this sheet into the front cover for easy access. We also created a set of success criteria for our journals. Our school board recommends that we co-create success criteria with our students (again, for that ownership), so after looking at the checklist assessment (in the interactive journal resource), we created our success criteria. We wrote this on the first page (after the table of contents). We glued an envelope to the inside of the back cover for spare parts (for those days we don't get our interactive tool finished, or to keep some of our cootie catchers in).
That's about it - I like that we took our time setting up our journals. I can't wait to share a brand new year of journals with you.