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Math Journals

This year I've been getting more into math journals. I used them a lot when taught third grade and I'm not quite sure why, but I kind of got out of the habit over the past few years. This year, I knew I wanted to make it a priority. To get started, I purchased the entire year's worth of journal prompts from Ana Brantley.

Instead of using a composition book or spiral, I just folded a few pieces of paper inside a cover that I whipped up. This way I can send it home at the end of each month and the parents can get an idea of what we've been up to.

Want a little tip? See those little circle stickers above their names? I use 4 or 5 different sets of matching stickers to group the journals. That way I can call them up to check a few at a time. For example, I might say, "All the candy corns bring up your journal" or "All the owls leave your journals open on your desk". It's just a fun way for me to spot check them as we go along. They never know which group I'm going to call, plus it's a good way to use up those little stickers!

I made covers for each month - just simple stuff, but they do the trick. Just click {HERE} to download from GoogleDocs.

Here's a peek inside a few. Some of their answers crack me up, but I love how they're learning to express math ideas in writing. Very common core friendly, by the way. These are all from Ana's set. We just glue the prompt right into the journal. I suppose they could just copy the prompt too.

I have seen lots of amazing journals with flaps and tabs and drawings. I may work my way up to that kind of thing, but for now I'm letting the kids get the hang of how to explain their mathematical thinking. I don't do a page each day either. I try to squeeze in at least 2-3 a week. I've also added some pages with math vocabulary as it comes up and sometimes I even sneak in a few higher level practice problems.  I'm probably breaking some math journal rule - but I'm a rebel like that. I've been keeping a running list of some of my own prompts. You can get those {HERE} if you'd like. As I add more, I'll share them too.

If you know of any other good math journal resources for 2nd-3rd graders, I'd love to hear about them!


  1. These are fabulous! Thanks for sharing. I say 36 is the age of fun...not 8 :)
    My Second Sense

  2. Loved these! You've inspired me now, with my 2nd graders!
    Amy Howbert

    Little Miss Organized

  3. LOVE THEM!!
    Sweet Times in First

  4. I just came across your blog and totally love it. I know that clipart can always be used in the classroom. I came across this site which offers unlimited access to the clipart. Plus new items are added almost daily. Take a peek at it http://www.digiscrappy.infoLook for Teachers and Church Teachers.Missy Mae

  5. Hi Denise,
    I remember using these! They are great! I think I might bring them back to my classroom too! Thanks for sharing!
    Beach Sand and Lesson Plans

  6. These are great!!! I love the age of fun, lol!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing!!! These are so practical and simple, but so cute!! I haven't started math journals because I feel overwhelmed at the complexity of how so many teachers do it! I think these might do the trick :)

    Thanks Denise!

    Across the Hall in 2nd Grade

  8. love it! I usually have mine keep them in their spiral all year, but I'm thinking this would be a great idea so we can get rid of the clutter! lol

  9. I just started using math journals. I love the idea of having students glue a question in their journal. These would be great for formative assessments. I'm starting ASAP!!! I just started a blog...stop by when you get a chance!

  10. I LOVE the way you are doing math journals. Thanks a ton for sharing. What a great way to keep it simple.
    ❤Dragonflies in First ❤

  11. Hi Denise!

    Thanks for the cute journal covers! A great way to de-clutter and inform parents in one swoop! If you're looking for more prompts, Yvonne Dixon on TpT also has monthly prompts. They are a bit longer and with color, but good topics! :) Thanks so much!

  12. Hi Denise!

    I cannot tell you how much I enjoy your site -- not to mention your ideas! I also felt a bit overwhelmed at the idea of math journals -- but now that I see them laid out this way, they are definitely doable. (Probably too much perfectionism here -- if I can't do it "perfectly" I hesitate to try.) We'll be doing the spiders tomorrow for our door contest. I was telling the kids about them today and about my friend in Florida... and how she's given me this fun idea for us to do -- they can't wait. :o) Thanks!

  13. Hi Denise! I said I was going to do this right kiddos wouldn't stop writing!!! I linked back to your site, thanks for the ideas!

  14. Hi Denise! These Math journals are great. It reminded me of a great opinion writing my coworker did with her class. Her second graders had to write their opinion of what is the best age to be. The paragraphs were hilarious. My favorite went something like this. People can be all ages. I think the best age to be is one. When you are one you don't have to do work and you can take naps.

    I have to agree with that!!

  15. I love these math journals. We need to incorporate writing into EVERYTHING this year and I have been wanting to start math journals, but I did not want to buy more spirals!! This is a great solution. Thanks thanks thanks!! :-)

  16. I like the way you use math journals for explaining and thinking. I use mine almost exclusively for problem solving, but I'm going to try to mix it up a bit.

    Here was a post I did last year about mine:

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  17. Thanks for sharing these great journal covers:-)

  18. Thank you for the journal freebies. I will definitely be using these this year!

  19. I love this idea! Especially your tip on adding the cute stickers as an easy way to group students! Thanks for sharing!

  20. Thanks so much for these awesome covers, and what a neat idea about sticker grouping!! :)



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