Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Math Journals

The first thing I ever saw about math journaling was on Integer Jim’s Math squad site. The journals there are totally drool-worthy and enough to make even a math-o-phobe like me get really interested in numbers and such.

I loved the idea of a math journal, and have wanted to start them with the kids since the beginning of the year but really had no idea where to start – what, exactly, goes into a math journal?

I was messing around on YouTube the other day and came across ZapplePi’s excellent two-part tutorial video on math journaling. It’s for the parent (or teacher), not the student, and it gives you an overview of how to help your kids start and keep and use math journals. He also has a ton of free resources on his website. I mean, really – a TON of them for kids 3rd-8th grade, including a PlaceMaths sample!

My kids are all about art journaling; I’ve posted stuff on that before, but math journaling is a little more intimidating. In addition to making it pretty, the information needs to be legible and useful. So I started fooling around with a notebook and came up with a few ideas. Thus far, I have a number line and the four basic math processes down – an explanation and definition of each process and an illustration, then the tables on the back of that sheet for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. In doing that, I really got inspired and more ideas started coming to me. I’ll make a page with fractions, geometric shapes, graphs, grids, angles… I can see just getting the basics down taking quite a while.

So with my handy reference journal in hand, I showed the kids what I thought they might like to add to their journals and they made a great effort! We’re intentionally leaving some blank space on each page so we can add more facts about that process as we go along. I can see ways for all kinds of interesting stuff to be incorporated this way. It seems that the more we add, the more we think about adding. This is similar to what happened with our history/geography folder – we have ended up using that so much more than I thought we would! I’ll have to post about that one, too.

Here are the kids journals. I was lacking inspiration, so I snagged a bit from Integer Jim’s ‘math adventure’ theme and used Indiana Jones and Lara Croft for the pictures, then made the lettering in Microsoft Word (word art). Fred’s with us again this summer; that’s her book on the far right. Since she’s here she gets to do school too. {wink}

I have to say that I’m pretty happy with their work! The pages look great and once we get a little more info in them, I am hoping they’ll act like a reference (similar to a dictionary) as they’re working. I honestly enjoy helping my kids when they need it, but sometimes, ‘Mom, can you…’ is just laziness.

Do you journal? Any recommendations? Link to your blog and post your kids’ journals!




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