Try Math Journals in Your Classroom

This course for K-6 educators explores the power of student reflective journals in building students’ mathematical knowledge and practices.

HOURS:

5-30 hours

MATERIALS:

A journal for each student in your classroom.

Module 4 | Dive Deeper into Journals through Inquiries

4.1 – Inquiry Options

What aspects of students’ journal use would you like to deepen?  This module suggests six inquiries. They are:

  • how to spark students’ use of prior knowledge
  • how to support students in using important mathematical tools (like expressions and diagrams)
  • how encourage students to reflect more deeply on their mathematical learning
  • the relationship between journal writing and classroom conversations
  • the relationship between journal writing and board writing
  • how to foster students’ mindsets (like agency, perseverance, and interest)

Consider these inquiries just a starting point for thinking about the ways that journals might be used to enhance the mathematical growth of the particular students at your school.

4.2 – Inquiry Structure

This module includes six inquiries. For each inquiry cycle you select, you will:

  • Explore the inquiry topic and reflect on your current practice (1 hour)
  • Make a plan and try out new strategies in your classroom (3-5 lessons in which journals are used)
  • Examine journals and reflect on classroom practice (15-45 min)
  • Refine your approach and try out in your classroom (next 3-5 lessons in which journals are used)
  • Examine journals and reflect on classroom practice (15-45 min)
  • Reflect on learning from this inquiry cycle (15-30 min)

Inquiry Options

What aspects of students’ journal use would you like to deepen?  Each inquiry topic is studied in a cycle that lasts approximately 2 weeks (or 6-10 lessons that use journals). We encourage you to pursue the inquiry or inquiries that you find most valuable for yourself, your students and your colleagues and to extend the length of each inquiry as needed. The inquiries can be pursued in any order, and we hope you will add your own inquiries as you notice additional mathematical practices that you want to nurture in your students. To begin each inquiry, you will need your students’ recent journals..

A list of inquiry modules with links appears below.

Inquiry A – How are Students Using Prior Knowledge to Make Sense of New or Puzzling Ideas?

Inquiry B – How are Students Using Mathematical Expressions, Diagrams, and Other Important Tools of Mathematics?

Inquiry C – How are Students Reflecting on their Own Mathematical Learning?

Inquiry D – How Do Classroom Conversations and Journal Writing Support Each Other in Your Classroom?

Inquiry E – How Do Board Writing and Journal Writing Support Each Other in Your Classroom?

Inquiry F – How Are Students Developing Mathematical Agency, Perseverance, and Interest?