Once upon a time…
Shonda asked to hear more about our math journals. It’s been a while ago now, but I’m ready to answer! The idea of writing in math has been around a long time. When I was still a classroom teacher in Maryland in the 90s it was all the rage and math teachers were trying to figure out how to manage it.
Since my kids enjoy math puzzles and like to try and figure out longer problems or hands on problems or just otherwise interesting problems outside of their math workbooks, I thought I’d try out the math journal.
I was further inspired by and article in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine back in February- when I became enthralled while flying to Denver. The article is from the Winter 2008-2009 issue and is entitled, Mind-Mannered Math No More. The author, Cheryl Bastarache, explains how she organizes a math journal for her kids. Actually, that issue had several math articles another one I enjoyed was about Integrating Math into Everyday Life. I find we talk a lot about how to solve everyday problems as we go about our day. For example, the day I made the bubble solution we needed 2.5 quarts of water. I told the kids that 4 cups equaled a quart. I-6 said we’d need 8 cups then. When told him we actually needed another half quart he replied, without missing a beat, that it would mean 10 cups. This would make a fine math journal entry!
You have to make a choice about what kind of notebook you will use for a math journal. You can use bound notebooks, three prong folders, or a loose leaf binder with dividers. I like the flexibility of the binder so that’s what we’ve gone with. Mrs. Bastarache suggests the following sections within the journal:
- copywork– lists like days of the week using StartWrite or math quotations which she says you can Google.
- research-facts from math biographies, history of math or other topics of interest- her family studied the history of the calendar, the history of the Canadian dollar (she’s Canadian), and early calculators. They’ve also done the mathematics of cartography, tessellations, probability, and genetics. They’ve used lots of creative methods to share the research like lapbooks, skits, comics, etc.
- challenges– puzzles, games and anything that requires them to think beyond where they are right now. The key is to make sure they explain how they got an answer.
- responses– this could be answers to open-ended questions, making up their own problems with solutions, and logs about math literature
- fun stuff– puzzles from magazines, printouts from computer games, sketches of answers to domino problems, and work from the Roddles book or pattern block activities, or even making their own math games.
She had to figure use doll measurements and her own measurements to decide whether or not if she was the size of her doll if the doll’s clothes would fit her. Turns out no! This was all about proportion.
I found the April Math Calendar at Homeschool Math Blog.Looking forward to when the May calendar is posted!
A math puzzle for E10 from the book The Junior Big Book of Games published by Games Magazine. Remember that one? I used to use this puzzle book for my skills classes back in the day.
This is where E10 does his Life of Fred math so far. This is a superb little program that is all about well Fred. You HAVE to get your hands on Fred. Make sure to visit the website and read all about Fred. Both of my older kids sat down and read the whole of Fred when it arrived. It’s all about a 5yo boy who teaches at Kittens University and how he wants to buy a bike.
- Homeschool Math
- Homeschool Math Blog
- Let’s Play Math
- Critical Thinking Puzzles– a puzzle each day. Sweet.
We use Horizons Math as our math curriculum. It’s thorough, visually pleasing and cheap. There is a lot out there for math. I don’t plan to change things now. We are invested with Horizons having all the teacher materials through grade 6.
I have to bend and stretch Horizons to make it fit every child. However, it does provide our core program. I wonder if I can be brave in the future…brave enough to make math journaling the main piece of the curriculum. First I think I’ll get I-6 started on one and see what he can do.