Interactive Math Journals!

A few weeks ago, I came across Jen's fabulous Interactive Math Journal Resource:

 Let me tell you first hand~it is the number one seller on TPT for two weeks in a row for good reason.

At the end of each unit of study, I am going to have my students reflect on their learning.  Jen spells out everything in her resource.  It is very thorough and I can't say enough about it.  You should also visit her blog, Runde's Room, if you aren't already a fan.  She is full of ideas of how to activity engage learners.  I love "stealing" ideas from her.  And, I do often.

We just finished our unit on place value.  Most curriculum starts the year with place value, but we pushed it back a few weeks for a few reasons:

1) We wanted to spend about 2 weeks reviewing basic multiplication facts.
2) Place value is a H.A.R.D. concept for many (very abstract) and we needed to take a few weeks to warm up to the idea of thinking deeper.

I have my students keep all work (including many interactive foldables) in what we call their "personal math notebook" because it is the notebook with their personal numbers on the front. 

However, for this culmination activity, I am having my students work in a "Math Journal".  It's actually the back 1/2 of a composition notebook.  The first 1/2 of the notebook is used for their Calendar Math activities (Again, that's something I "borrowed" from Stephanie in Teaching in Room 6~I promise to share more on that soon.)

We organized the math journal just like we did our personal math notebooks with a Table of Contents.

I had my students complete their first entry on Friday.  I am SOOOO excited about how they turned out.

The journal uses the same principle of the whole "right side/left side philosophy" that I used with my interactive social studies notebooks last year.

Take a look:

The right side is full of "teachery" objectives, an interactive tool and some notes. 

I started by having them list the Common Core standard specific to the unit (in this case on place value):

Complete with Common Core numbers and all, folks.  Stick with me on this....

Next the foldable and some notes:

Now for the best part...the left side:

On the top, they list the learning goal again.  BUT, this time, it is in their words.  Kid-language. I want them to be able to take the Common Core "gobble-dy gook" as I refer to it with them to words that make sense to them.
Here's an example:
After their learning goal, the students then write what they learned. 

Then, Jen says that they need "Proof".  I LOVE this...the proof can be a drawing, a paragraph, more examples, etc. 
This student's proof was a drawing of the place value chart.  Another student (oops, can't find a picture) was a pyramid with the value of each place value...brilliant!  (I'll add a picture later.)

Finally, students must write/draw a reflection.  For me, I told my students that in their reflection I wanted for them to think of how place value is important.  How/Why do we need to know about place value in our lives??

Check out this cutie:


So, there you have it...a great way to end our unit on place value.  Thanks, Jen for such a FANTASTIC resource.  If you haven't purchased this number one seller, you need {here} to check it out.  So.Worth.It.

Do you use this resource?  I'd love to hear how you are making it work in your room.  Leave me a comment below :)


  1. I've just started using Jen's journals and I am loving them already!! The Interactive Math Journals and Calendar Math from Stephanie have been the best parts of math this year!

    1. I just love Stephanie and Jen for helping me be a better teacher :)

  2. I have been seriously considering purchasing this product. It looks fabulous! I have been doing interactive math journals that I have been creating in my classroom with my kiddos. I LOVE the idea about showing "proof". Thanks for sharing! You've convinced me to hop on over to TPT and purchase this product.


    1. You should, Krista. It is filled with great ideas and very detailed descriptions!

  3. Jen's journal really is amazing. It has impacted not just my math block, but EVERYTHING in my room. I really, really love it.

    Teaching in Room 6

    1. I agree, Stephanie. I love it! I also love all of your great ideas. I'm a better teacher because of you two gals :)

  4. Awwww ... thank-you SO much, Elizabeth!!! I am so glad your students are enjoying the journals - and I LOVE your student's reflection - how cute is that!!! And by the way ... I "steal" just as many ideas from you - thank-you for making ME a better teacher!!!

    Runde's Room

    1. Thanks, Jen. This is why I love blogging. It makes us ALL better teachers ;)

      I looked through more journals today and I was blown away at their thinking. I'm so glad I am using this. Thanks again, Jen :)

  5. I love the idea of "proof"! :) Thanks for sharing!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this! I bought it today from TpT and can't wait to start using it in my classroom. I've been struggling with trying to find a new way to teach math because the way I've been doing just hasn't been working! I am so excited to implement this interactive journal and attempt some math groups! Thank you so much for sharing!!!!

  7. This is wonderful!! Thank you so much for sharing. I really need something to amp up my math block and this would be just the ticket. As always, I love reading your posts:)
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  8. What grade do you teach? I am going to try math and LA journals with my 2/3 Special Needs Class this year.