Math Journals in MINUTES… Yes, you can!

Thinking about using kindergarten math journals in your classroom? This post shows how you can do a math journal activity in minutes!
Can you do math journals in MINUTES?  Yes!  You can!
 
Math Journals in MINUTES... Yes, you can! 1
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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 really took, so I set my timer for 8 minutes.
 
Math Journals in MINUTES... Yes, you can! 2
 
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.
Thinking about using kindergarten math journals in your classroom? This post shows how you can do a math journal activity in minutes!
About the time I have made it around the room, I am ready to start checking their responses.
 
These are a few from today.
 
Thinking about using kindergarten math journals in your classroom? This post shows how you can do a math journal activity in minutes!

 

Thinking about using kindergarten math journals in your classroom? This post shows how you can do a math journal activity in minutes!
 
When we were all done, I took another photo of our timer. 4-5 minutes was all it took!
 
Math Journals in MINUTES... Yes, you can! 3
 
Here are some prompts from earlier in the week.
 
Thinking about using kindergarten math journals in your classroom? This post shows how you can do a math journal activity in minutes!

 

Thinking about using kindergarten math journals in your classroom? This post shows how you can do a math journal activity in minutes!
 Pretend that cornstalk is NOT a compound word please… oops! (I have corrected the unit.)
Thinking about using kindergarten math journals in your classroom? This post shows how you can do a math journal activity in minutes!
 Again… please ignore my lack of compound word-ness!
Thinking about using kindergarten math journals in your classroom? This post shows how you can do a math journal activity in minutes!
 
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!
 
Thinking about using kindergarten math journals in your classroom? This post shows how you can do a math journal activity in minutes!
Then the prompts continue to progress throughout the year.
Thinking about using kindergarten math journals in your classroom? This post shows how you can do a math journal activity in minutes!
 
You can find the complete year (over 200 different math prompts) HERE.
 
Thinking about using kindergarten math journals in your classroom? This post shows how you can do a math journal activity in minutes!
AND THAT is how we do our math journals in just a few minutes each day!
 

Starting Journals at the beginning of the year

Here is a blog post that will cover how I introduce journals in August.  I hope it is helpful:

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

 
 
 
 
 
Thinking about using kindergarten math journals in your classroom? This post shows how you can do a math journal activity in minutes!

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Deedee Wills

Deedee Wills

My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching in different classroom environments and grades. My heart belongs to early childhood education. My job is to make teaching FUN, ENGAGING, and EASIER. Welcome!

Hi, I'm DeedeE.

My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching in different classroom environments and grades. My heart belongs to early childhood education. My job is to make teaching FUN, ENGAGING, and EASIER. Welcome!
 

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19 Responses

  1. 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?

    1. 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!

      1. I love the Idea of attaching a ribbon to help students find their place. How did you attach them to the journals?

    1. 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."

  2. 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?

    1. 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!

  3. 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.

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

  4. Hi! I love these but I teach first… do you have something similar for 1st? Or do you know of someone who might?

    Thanks!

    1. I don’t have 1s grade ones, but Anna Brantley on TpT has some that are similar and they are made for first grade. 🙂

  5. Do you model any parts or just let them go? I am afraid my students may not have exposure to some of the vocabulary like cornstalks?

    1. Hi there!

      Great question! I have a blog post that goes over the early days. Here is the link. I’m going to add it to my post as well. Thank you for your question!! Let me know if you have any other questions that I didn’t cover in this one.

      Starting Math Journals

  6. In your opinion, are these prompts something well trained kinders can do independently in a math station?

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