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Deedee Wills - Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

What worked last year? Part 1: Math Journals

My students loved their journals last year AND we had a few!
Using different colored duct tape help my students quickly find the journal they needed.
Math journals literally took just minutes each day.
You can find this visual classroom timer HERE.
This is how journaling time goes in my room:
I say,  “Friends, take out your math journals.”  I had a piece of duct tape (green) along the spine of their math journals, so they could quickly find them. Students then opened it up to the “next blank page.”
Then I  read the prompt.  The moment I was done reading it, they started drawing.  I encouraged them to look at their neighbors and collaborate.
Meanwhile, I started cutting the prompts out.  As I  cut, I also offered words of encouragement and clarification and moved about the room.   I dropped the paper prompt in the lid of their crayon box and kept moving.  The STUDENTS glued them in.  EASY!!! {I like easy.}
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 selected 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.
By the time I have made it around the room dropping the prompts off at their desk, I was ready to start checking their responses.

Here are a few from this year.

math journals
This was at the very beginning of the year.  You can tell that we are still working on numeral formation.









You can find these math prompts by clicking the image below.

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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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13 Responses

  1. I just LOOOVED reading this post. I can't wait to read part 2! THANKS for posting and SHARING all that you do to teach our precious little ones. You are AMAZING! Amber ~ Kindergarten Rocks Blog

    1. Mwha! Amber! I'm going to be back up north in December! I hope we can see each other then!

  2. I've LOVED using these math journals this year! I incorporated them in January, and cannot wait to use them all year long this upcoming school year. 🙂

    Did you print the journal "titles" on labels?

    1. No, I printed the covers on card stock. Then I cut them out and attached them using clear contact paper. They stayed looking great all year.

      In the past I would just glue them, but when they all started popping off… I literally cried because of all of the wasted time.

  3. This is my second year for using your math journals. I don't have them do an entry a day though. That is something I need to work toward next year. They will get faster the more they work on them. I also didn't have them collaborate on them. That is a great idea. I don't think I really had many that got stuck, but it would be great for them to heard different ways to solve the problem.

  4. I keep trying to read your post and some Starbuck's ad at the bottom keeps pulling me down to watch the video. I thought I would let you know this is happening. It did it again while I was typing this response. It won't let me have control over my own computer!

    1. OH! NO! That is so dang annoying! I am so sorry! BTW: I don't even drink coffee!

  5. I've started using them. I like the idea of colored tape to differentiate journals.

  6. Thanks for this post!
    We still have 3 weeks left and I LOVE trying out new ideas during this time (when instruction & testing is almost over) and seeing what "sticks." We do a whole group math application problem, but my students def need more practice and would love having their own journals. I'm going to try this! Jen 🙂

  7. Are all of the prompts addition or subtraction based? I'm worried that in the beginning of the year my kinders won't understand this. Some don't know their numbers/colors/shapes yet. Just curious before I make the purchase. Thanks!

  8. Pingback: The BEST Kindergarten Schedule ~ Fitting it all in! - Mrs. Wills Kindergarten
  9. I used these all year this year, faithfully. What a difference it made in my kiddos math skills. I love these! When we got to addition towards the end of the year, we didn’t even need to use manipulatives bc they were already adept at drawing pictures! I printed my prompts at the beginning of the year and had parent volunteers cut, paper clip and put in a gallon ziplock bag marked with the month labeled on the front. That way I just grabbed a set and away we went. I loved that the students collaborated and helped each other. Just a really valuable part of our daily routine!

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