Sunday, October 14, 2012

Math Journal Sundays - Patterns and a Candy Corn Freebie

Are you ready for a new week of math journal ideas?  It's a cold and wet Sunday here, so I'm happy to be home and blogging with a nice hot coffee by my side.  

Last week I shared my end of the unit Summary of Learning for our Number Sense unit.  If you missed it, you can see it HERE.  When I started this year, it was my intention to be able to confer with students and their journals during our "Number of the Day / Calendar Math" skill drill during our first 20 minutes of math class.  After setting this part of our day up, I had hoped that the students would soon be able to lead themselves through this part.  Unfortunately, as of yet, this is not the case.  My class this year has A LOT of needs (7 of my 23 students are on IEPs, 3 are on modified programs, and the majority of my students still have a lot to learn about working cooperatively).  I have no doubt we'll get there, but we're not there yet.  So ... at the moment, I've decided to collect all the journals to assess over the weekend, and I'll keep leading  our "Number of the Day" until the students prove they are ready to take it over.

Anyhow, as our end of the unit Summary of Learning only used one side of the page, it left a blank page for our Assessment Checklists.  I've gone through and assessed the notebooks (it will be a summative mark for the unit) and when I give them back to the students tomorrow, they will have to reflect on my feedback and bring the journals home for their parents to sign.  You will notice that there isn't a final mark on the checklist for the students - I have recorded a mark in my own records, but our board is currently moving towards the belief that students benefit more and are motivated more from the descriptive feedback we give, rather than the marks.  What are your beliefs on this?

We moved on to our Patterning unit this week.  I wanted to break out the Candy Corn folding pattern because I am totally in love with Fall and already getting into the Halloween mood.  Last year I used a similar idea for number forms (standard, expanded, and written form), but this year I'm in a different unit (I switched the order of my Number Sense and Pattern units).  So, I had each student fold the paper in half and cut out three pieces of candy corn).  Each candy corn had a different pattern and different options for the other flaps.  If you scroll down to the bottom of this post, I've included a little TREAT for you so you can give this one a try.

All my students work independently on their left-side of the page thinking now.  I do have a few students I need to check up on, and perhaps give a few suggestions for proof or a reflection, or remind them to show understanding of the concept in their reflection, but most are coming along quite nicely.  Having the students share their reflections is a HUGE part of this success.

I wanted to share a little TREAT with you (no tricks involved).  My students have loved the candy corn template the past two years, and I think yours will, too.  Just have them fold the paper in half before they cut out the candy corn (and remind them to not cut on the fold line).  This little folded template has so many uses - not just in math.  I saw a cute idea on Pinterest that used something like this for summarizing books - the front of the flaps had beginning, middle, and end, and the inside of the flaps had a sentence related to each section.  You can also use these for vocabulary - words on the outside flaps and definitions on the inside flaps.  So many uses - what will you use it for?  I've uploaded this to google docs / google drive ... whatever it is.  Just click HERE or on the picture to get the link.  I've included both a color page as well as a page with just the black and white outline.

For more math journal ideas, you can check out my Interactive Math Journal Resource over at TeachersPayTeachers.  Just click on the picture to head on over.

Happy Sunday!!!  I've been working on a new set of comprehension fans (this one is for different genres: personal memoirs, fictional narratives, nonfiction, persuasive writing, and poetry) - hoping to get it finished later tonight.



  1. I really like your math journals and the idea for a summative assessment grade. With regards to providing descriptive feedback, I truly believe that what motivates the learner is the TYPE of feedback. If students are presented with "good job" or "awesome" than their brains turn it into "Great! I can keep doing what I'm doing." which therefore leads into not challenging themselves to produce improved work. If the descriptive feedback provides students with successes and also suggestions for improvement, then the student knows how to make their work better and also lets them know that you will help them challenge themselves. Ultimately, the point is that it creates metacognitive learners.

    Great post!
    Kristin Cook’s Classroom Blog

  2. I am so inspired by these journals. I recently puchased it and am beginning on Monday! I am curious, how do you come up with a grade based on your checklist?

  3. I love the journals! We are doing them too! VERY slow going, but worth the work! What number of the day activities are you using? I am thinking about starting this too. I would love your input. Happy Sunday!

  4. Jen,
    I love your Candy Corn template. I am planning to use it for a festive addition to our interactive reader's and writer's notebooks to spruce up our learning goals. Great idea and thanks for sharing.

  5. I love the assessment page. I'm not sure how I would feel if I couldn't put an actual grade on the page. I do feel the words mean more, but students need some kind of score to be self-motivated (in my opinion).
    Have a.great week!

  6. Thanks for sharing the cute foldable! Thinking I might try and use this with nouns. I wanted to share with you an idea for Calendar math. Last week I had the students design their own template for it in groups of two. They loved this activity and their ideas were so creative. (One student had the idea to take all the digits in the date and use them to make a jack-o-lantern face.) I had them take them to computer class and make a word doc. and I plan to use them in class.

  7. I love the idea of not putting a grade on your response to the children. I find that my students are often interested in the 'bottom line' (their grade). If you don't tell them what it is, they are then forced to reflect on what you wrote. It would be interesting to ask a student to tell you what they think their grade should be based upon your feedback and their reflection.

  8. Love this printable!

    I think that there is a problem with your website though-- I can't click "older" to read through previous blog posts!!

  9. Your math journal posts always make me wish I was teaching math this year too! I keep telling myself one day!

    I "booed" you over on my blog! Come visit to see what I mean!

    Miss Klohn
    Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher

  10. I am really enjoying your blog and my 5/6 class here in Australia totally love the math journal concept. I am wondering if you will be doing any lessons on time?


  11. I have been following your journals since last year and implemented them in my 5/6 grade math class this year. The kids really love them. I bought your journal on TPT and tell everyone I teach with to buy it! Best money I've spent yet on TPT!!! Congrats on being the top seller! :)

  12. I'd love to read more about your number of the day. Have you posted about this before? I started using the math journals with my students and they LOVE it. Thanks!

  13. You are an angel! Thank you:)

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I love using math journals in my room. My kiddos use them to incorporate writing into math class. Plus it helps them write their explanations during the PSSA tests. I have not gotten to the point where they students are actually pasting in. I love it very much! Thank you!

      Teaching is Terrific


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