3.2 – Examine the Journals
This section asks for three different analyses of your students’ journals. As you do each analysis, we suggest that you:
- Look at the student journals from your class and classify or rate the journals as suggested by the prompts, focusing on a single lesson in which students learned a new mathematical idea or procedure.
- Based on the analysis, identify areas where you would like to see student growth, and consider steps you could take to support that growth.
- Update your journal plan (at the end of this module) with the steps you plan to take.
Analysis 1: What do the journals tell you about student learning of the new mathematics of the lesson?
On the sheet Journal Analysis 1, record the key new mathematical idea or procedure that you planned for students to learn in the lesson, and then analyze the journals as follows.
Begin by classifying the journals into 3 groups:
- Shows clear evidence that the student grasped the new mathematics (the idea or procedure that was the goal of the lesson)
- Shows clear evidence that the student has not yet grasped the new mathematics
- Doesn’t provide evidence to judge whether or not the student grasped the new mathematics
Next, on the sheet Journal Analysis 1, record the number of journals that fall into each group, and closely examine at least one journal in each group, using the prompts on the sheet.
Then, based on the category that most journals land in, note in your journal plan the next steps would you like to take. For example:
- If journals indicated a common misconception, perhaps you want to revisit it in an upcoming lesson and ask students to analyze the misconception
- If journals did not allow you to judge student understanding, perhaps you can strengthen journal writing routines that expect and support articulation of thinking; this might be done by highlighting models, posing specific prompts to the class (e.g., write about what is still confusing), or asking students whether another student reading their journal could identify their learning
- If very few students articulated the expected learning, look back on your lesson to try to understand why that occurred. Students may miss the big mathematical learning of a lesson because they are focused on quickly getting a correct answer or following a procedure, rather than on thinking about the underlying mathematical ideas. Consider how you might design future lessons so that more students have the opportunity to really grapple with a novel problem (for which they have not previously been taught a procedure) and come to a powerful “aha.”