Can you do math journals in MINUTES? Yes! You can!

I am often asked, “How do you have time for math journals?” Or “How much time to do take to do math journals?” My answer is always, “About 10 minutes.” But on one particular day, I wanted to see how long it

*took, so I set my timer for 8 minutes.***really**And we started.

These visual timers are available HERE.

### Introducing the Math Prompt

I said, “Friends, take out your math journals.” I have a piece of duct tape (green) along the spine of their math journals, so they can quickly find them. They open it up to the “next blank page.”

I start reading the prompt. The moment I am done reading it, they start drawing. I encourage them to look at their neighbors and collaborate.

### Paper vs. Label Prompts

Meanwhile, I start cutting the prompts out. As I am cutting, I am offering words of encouragement and clarification and move about the room. I drop the paper prompt in the lid of their crayon box and keep moving. The STUDENTS glue them in. EASY!!! {I like easy.}

The question I get a lot… “Why don’t you print them on labels?” I simply don’t because

**I am cheap**. I print the ENTIRE months worth of prompts (25 of them) on plain paper. Close to ZERO prep needed here folks. Then each day, I select one… I DO NOT cut them ahead of time. We don’t have 25 school days each month, so at the end of the month I have no problem recycling 5 or 6 pages of plain paper. Labels?… I might cry.Also, I can “cut and drop” those prompts

*way faster*than I could peel and stick 20 labels on individual journals. NOTE: I added a black ribbon to help them find their next blank page.About the time I have made it around the room, I am ready to start checking their responses.

These are a few from today.

When we were all done, I took another photo of our timer. 4-5 minutes was all it took!

Here are some prompts from earlier in the week.

Pretend that cornstalk is NOT a compound word please… oops! (I have corrected the unit.)

Again… please ignore my lack of compound word-ness!

Each prompt comes with 4-5 prompts in the same strand. Sometimes I stick to one strand (like more and less this week) and sometimes I hop around for more of a spiral review.

### Keep them going all year

I love how simple the prompts are at the beginning of the year. This was our day one prompt!

Then the prompts continue to progress throughout the year.

You can find the complete year (over 200 different math prompts) HERE.

AND THAT is how we do our math journals in just a few minutes each day!

You can grab a sample of math journal prompts and a journal cover by clicking below!

Carrie says

I am going to time ours tomorrow! I have been passing out as they're getting their journals ready and then read when the majority of the class is done gluing. I am going to try it your way tomorrow! Do you have the kids show the class their work or is it more just with their neighbors?

Deedee says

We don't do a daily share, they just look at their tables. Sometimes I highlight one that is shows the concept really clearly. They love when I get my camera out!

Cafeyestilo says

Did it take them longer at first?

Deedee says

Yes, When we first started (in August) we spent about 15 minutes I think. EVERYTHING takes longer in August… ha! We did journals a few times a week back then. Now we are doing them more routinely and they HOP to it! I am a real stickler about transitions… there will be no lolly gagging in my class, but I make a game out of it. "Let's see if we can get this done in ___ minutes."

Jennifer White says

I just love everything you do!

Jennifer

First Grade Blue Skies

Kelly McFarland says

Thanks for sharing this! Honestly I always wondered how much time it took your littles to do this and always thought when do they have the time???? Ha Ha It's fantastic to hear how quickly it can be done 🙂

Kelly

Lattes and LunchroomsSueG says

just curious….but what about those students who are incorrect or don't have the stamina or fine motor skills to get it done that quickly?

Deedee says

So far… in the 3-4 years since I have done these, I have not had a problem with a student not being able to complete these. Certainly, at the beginning of the year, they may have to push harder, but they all step up. I am also right by their side continuously. I am up moving and supporting students. From time to time, I have students misunderstand the prompt or draw an incorrect response. This offers a nice opportunity to instruct them.

I love setting high expectations and then watching those students achieve!

Sarah Barnes says

How/when do you introduce adding the number sentence?

Shawn Starck says

Hi Deedee,

Math Talks or Number Talks seems to be a big thing these days. Do you consider these math journal problems a source for math talks? Do you do math talks in a different way? I know that a big part of math talks is getting students to share strategies they use to figure out problems, but with a math curriculum it is hard to find extra time do math talks/math journals, and still have time for small group math workshop.

Deedee says

Oh My! Yes, you could totally do a quick math talk as a pre-response activity! That would work perfectly!!!