Writing to Learn Math
Have you considered experimenting with writing in your math class this year? It seems that math journals are a growing fad, and for good reason:
Writing is how we think our way into a subject and make it our own.
Math journal entries can be as simple as class notes, or they can be research projects that take hours of experimentation and pondering. Students may use the journal to store their thoughts as they work several days to solve a challenge problem of the week, or they might jot down quick reflections about what they learned in today’s math class.
Here are some links to get you started on writing a math journal. I have also added these to my math resources page.
Math Journaling in General
Logistics of Math Journals: Frequently Asked Questions (pdf 105KB)
Tips for using math journals in the classroom, by the authors of this math journaling lesson for grades 3-5.
Math Journals Boost Real Learning
An article by Marilyn Burns in Scholastic Instructor magazine, April 2001. Math journals “help students stretch their thinking and make sense of problems,” and they can help teachers evaluate student progress.
Using Writing in Mathematics
When and how to introduce math journaling, and how to move from feeling-oriented, open-ended questions to more specifically mathematical thinking and writing. Heavy use of the term “metacognition,” with examples from teachers’ journal writing about using math journals.
How to Get Elementary Students Writing About Math
Math Journals and Other Math Ideas for Primary Grade Teachers
Journaling tips and story problems based on children’s literature for kindergarten and early elementary students.
Math Journal Ideas
A list of 30 writing prompts from a Catholic homeschooling mom.
Journal Topics for Older Students
Challenging problems and investigations for grades 7-12, with an emphasis on developing conceptual understanding in mathematics. Scroll down the sidebar for a detailed topic list, making it easy to find whatever your student needs to practice.
A book that will lead the junior-high through adult-level student step by step, using a journal to think your way through challenging math problems—including what to do when you are stuck and can’t find a solution. Many of the problems used as examples are traditional brain teasers and recreational math puzzles.
Using Art Projects to Create a Math Adventure…
See how a high school algebra teacher uses a math journaling project as the centerpiece of his curriculum. Photo-heavy page, but worth waiting for, even on a slow dial-up connection like mine. Students use fine-point permanent markers and quality colored pencils in artists’ sketchbooks, and then they sponge the pages of their journal with coffee for a beautiful, parchment-like effect.
Read the Sequel
I would never have predicted the popularity of the search topic “writing in math class.” I’ve collected a bunch of new links:
And all of the links from both articles are on Free (Mostly) Math Resources:
Have more fun on Let’s Play Math! blog: