Math Journals


I have used math journals for a long time in First Grade.  This past year in Kindergarten, I had a little difficulty starting them.  My writing journals were no trouble to start, but for some reason I put off beginning my math journals until later int he year.  When I finally did start them, once we completed a lot of modeling, it was great and my kids LOVED it! 

Since tomorrow I am starting a 2 week long math workshop, I have been thinking a lot about how I do math journaling…and no doubt over the next couple of weeks I will have a lot more to share =)
Usually, I have my kids make the page into fourths (straight line down the middle and one across the “belt” of the page). I will make up a story and my kids will draw it at the same time.  At the beginning of the year, we do it together, with me illustrating on the board.  I “think” through the problem…. “Hmmm…what would that look like?”…”How could I show that?”…etc.  After a while, they can do it independently.  I usually don’t mix up problems between subtraction and addition until both have been covered independently.  
 These are some examples of our math journals toward the end of the year with my Kinders.  I like how different each person’s illustrations are for the same problem.

 We take time as a class to explore right and wrong answers, discussing how we got what we got….sometimes the wrong answers give us more information that the right ones =)

We don’t always just do math stories, sometimes we explore numbers or answer daily questions…make patterns…and sometimes I let them write numbers.   There are other times I will give them strips of paper with the problem written on it and they have to illustrate their solution (Mrs Wills has some great math journaling prompts you can find here!!).  
They love to work in their math journals!
Do you have any ideas that work in your classroom for math journaling?


  1. I love math journals! I used them sporadically the beginning of the year and towards Spring Break we were doing it as morning work since they were able to do it independently. I taught First Grade and an example of what we did was I would put a problem on the board like Mrs. Arki has 10 apples. A student gave her 2 more. How many apples does Mrs. Arki have in all? They would copy the problem from the board and then number underneath 1, 2, and 3. 1. was their number sentence or equation 10+2=__ 2. Was where they worked their problem and drew their picture. 3. Was their answer sentence. Mrs. Arki had 12 apples in all. Like the post above said it was nice to be able to look at their growth throughout the year! Plus they got to take them home at the end of the year. They were so proud!

  2. I love math journaling! I used to do it in second grade with the number of day we were in school. As we learned new skills (i.e. greater than, less than, place value, base 10, etc.) there more parts that were required for them to do. Then came the fun part. They got to make up their own way of creating that number. They loved figuring out how to make the looooonnnngggeeeesssttt problems possible as long as it equaled our number of the day. When our assistant principal got in on the action during my formal observation the kiddos were just overjoyed! Since moving to first, I haven't figured out how to do that yet. I do some things still whole group. Maybe I just need to look back at what I did with my second graders and do it whole group on chart paper with my firsties for a while before moving into their own journals. Hmmm…Thinking about that…But have fun at your math conference and come back with lots of good ideas!
    Mrs. Landry's Land of Learning

  3. We started Math Journals with out K kids this year. Januray was when we started and they we so ready for them!! We printed out the prompts and had the students glue them in. In the beginning I modeled how to think the problem through and show how to work it, then each day we shared a few journals (good and bad). Instead of having to write all the problems myself, my team each took a week and wrote 5. We had our Journals work with the skills we were working on. The kids also got to see and read lots of word problems. The kids loved their Math Journals and I often let them take them home on the weekend to share with their parents. Got some great amazed parent feedback!! I will be doing them again next year!!

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