Reflection Journals in Math Class?

Image by:  Samana

In the past, I’ve used reflection journals for language arts assignments.  Allowing students to reflect via journaling was one way that I could informally assess whether students were making connections to the literature.  After utilizing the idea of journaling for my language arts class, I thought that it might be useful to integrate this strategy with math.  Before starting this adventure I decided to complete some homework on the idea of math journaling.   In the past I’ve used standard reflection sheets.  While collecting ideas, I also looked for math journal writing prompts and rubrics 1 2 3 .  I found many ideas and strategies for math journaling here and at Monica’s website. If you’re unsure of how to introduce the topic of math journaling, this Word example may help.  If you’re curious of where to start, I’ve found that this site provides terrific examples.  So, after researching a few options I decided to label all of my journals and prepare for uncharted territory.

After giving a unit assessment, I gave my first math writing prompt:

  • How do you feel about your performance on the last unit assessment?  
  • What type of math concepts do you find interesting?  Why?

Students were also asked to include a picture with their response.  Why a picture?  I thought that allowing students to draw a picture may portray how they feel regarding their performance.  Some students decided to draw more of a picture, while others decided to write more with words.  Allowing this type of flexibility gave students an opportunity to communicate their response to the writing prompts differently.  The students then turned in their journals and I wrote a short response to each individual response.  I feel as though the students really enjoy the fact that I personalize my response to each student. I also feel as though this builds a positive classroom environment, as each student is shown that their opinion is valued.  The journals can also be used during parent teacher conferences, although it might be a good idea to disclose this to the students before they write.

What happend?

After completing a plus/delta chart, students thoroughly agreed that the math journals enabled them to reflect on how they are doing in the class.  Some students even communicated that the journals were a way to set specific math goals.  Currently, I give students an opportunity to complete a journal entry approximately every two weeks.  A byproduct of using the journals may also lead to personal goal setting and more academic involvement from the student.

What’s next?

I would like to incorporate the idea of utilizing specific math vocabulary in the journals. Not only should the math journals be used for reflection, but they can also be used as another opportunity to practice mathematical concepts.  As an elementary school teacher, I think it’s important for students to have a solid understanding of math vocabulary at a young age.  Having consistent definitions is also important. Certain math vocabulary words that are utilized in first grade will accompany a student throughout their entire life.  For example: multiply, divide, sum, fraction, etc.  Overall, I feel that students will become better at understanding math vocabulary and reflect on their learning through the math journals.  The journals will be used consistenly, so students will observe the progress that they have personally achieved throughout the year.

About these ads

24 thoughts on “Reflection Journals in Math Class?

  1. I had not thought of “reflection journals” for math class, but I am teaching a course this term which is expected to have a significant writing component. I might just swipe the idea if you don’t mind.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Student Growth Mindset | Educational Aspirations

  3. Pingback: Exit Cards and Formative Assessments | Educational Aspirations

  4. Pingback: Building Math Confidence in Elementary School | Educational Aspirations

  5. Pingback: Students That Own Their Learning | Educational Aspirations

  6. Pingback: Math and Multiple Solutions | Educational Aspirations

  7. Pingback: Student Data – Beyond the Scores | Educational Aspirations

  8. Hello. Your web page from your link to the rubics no longer exists. Do you know where else I can find math journal rubrics that are geared towards Reflection journals? Thanks!

    Reply
  9. Pingback: The Value of Self-Correction and Student Ownership | Educational Aspirations

  10. Pingback: The Marshmallow Challenge in the Elementary Classroom | Educational Aspirations

  11. Pingback: Teaching Algebra Through a Different Lens « Educational Aspirations

  12. Pingback: Math Debates in Elementary Classrooms | Educational Aspirations

  13. Pingback: Math: In Response to Your Question | Educational Aspirations

  14. Pingback: Student Self-Reflections | Educational Aspirations

  15. Pingback: 4 Ways to Encourage Student Self-Reflection in Math Class | Educational Aspirations

  16. Pingback: Math Autobiography | Educational Aspirations

  17. Pingback: Student Feedback Tools | Educational Aspirations

  18. Pingback: Standards Based Grading Journey | Educational Aspirations

  19. Pingback: Reflection before report cards | Educational Aspirations

  20. Pingback: Guided Math: What About the Other Groups? | Educational Aspirations

  21. Pingback: First Few Days of School | Educational Aspirations

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s