Math journals are an easy and fun way to practice number sense and concepts in the primary classroom. Learn the best ways to implement them successfully and why they benefit students of all ages.
Math Journals are a Magical Way to Improve Number Sense
Journals are one-page assignments for students to complete during morning meetings, in your guided math schedule, during math warm-up, or as a wrap-up review at the end of the day. Keep journals ready in student desks or folders so they are easy to grab and use.
Journal pages should focus on one skill at a time, making learning or reviewing new concepts enjoyable for students. Not only are they simple and fun for students, but ideas are readily available and easy to prep, making your planning easier!
Table of Contents
- Math Journals are a Magical Way to Improve Number Sense
- Why Journals Matter for Math
- Choosing the Right Journal for Your Students
- Setting Up Math Journals in the Classroom
- Effective Strategies for Teachers
- Additional Math Resources
- More Math Resources & Ideas
Why Journals Matter for Math
Math journals are a great way to help kids with their math skills. They provide students with the independent math practice they need daily without stress. They are also valuable as a math intervention strategy. Make sure they build on one another and are differentiated to meet the needs of students.
Math Journals Foster a Love for Math
Simple journal pages or prompts keep kids engaged because they aren’t too tedious. The tasks are easy enough that students can complete them on their own but challenging enough that they advance their understanding.
They also encourage creativity in problem-solving. These fun math activities allow students to find their way of solving math problems. Afterward, have students share their results and see who used the same strategies.
Math Journals Help Build Fundamental Skills
Math journals are a great tool to help kids develop their number sense. Whether working on a number line, sequencing, or multiplication, they allow kids to practice numbers. The different problems on the page invite them to use their critical thinking skills. Completing math journals on their own makes for great independent work times.
Choosing the Right Journal for Your Students
When looking for the right math journal for your students, you must consider a few things. Some teachers like a traditional journal in a notebook, while others hope to find an interactive journal. Having a hands-on journal lets kids learn in a kinesthetic way and apply their knowledge.
For students to stay focused, an engaging journal is a must. Having colorful pages, interesting questions, and interactive prompts will keep them begging for more. Fun imagery will make them smile when they get started.
Finally, you’ll want to ensure that your journals align with curriculum standards. Sometimes, this can be difficult to work around, but there are simple solutions. The journal prompts in our Mindful Math units are already aligned with the standards you use in the classroom!
Setting Up Math Journals in the Classroom
The first step in setting up your math journals is ensuring you have suitable materials. Print off pages and staple them together or glue them into composition notebooks.
Next, you will need math manipulatives, such as snap cubes and counters, whiteboards, posters and visuals, and other resources to make the classroom math-friendly. Students should feel like they have all the resources necessary to succeed and use them as needed.
The next step is to establish your journaling routine. This may include starting each math block with Daily Math Warm-Ups. These also work great as morning work! Students know what to do when they expect the same daily routines.
If you don’t have the time to do journals every day, you might consider implementing special math journal days. Maybe Mondays or Wednesdays are your journaling days!
Effective Strategies for Teachers
To implement your math journal strategies the right way, keep these tips in mind:
Provide Clear Prompts – Math journals are meant to be completed independently. Make sure the prompts students are given can be carried out without too much intervention. These tasks are for review and should be skills that have been taught before.
Encourage Peer Collaboration – Invite your students to check one another’s work after they complete their journal tasks. Set a timer to do the pages or allow students to find a partner when they are done. Letting them check another classmate’s work will encourage math talk and self-checking skills.
Assess and Provide Feedback – Once students have completed their journals, dedicate time to going over their work. Even if students check peer work, use one day of the week to peek through their journals to ensure things are going well. Give them positive feedback and support them where it is needed.
Additional Math Resources
K-2 Math Journal Prompts
Want done-for-you journal prompts that are standards-aligned and fun to complete? Use Mindful Math journal pages daily to practice math skills throughout the year. There are 90+ math journal pages for each grade level.
Mindful Math Curriculum Bundles
Each bundle has math worksheets, lessons, centers, and games to use during whole, small, or intervention times! You will also find the sets of math journals above included in the Mindful Math units.
Online Math Programs and Apps
Try using these digital resources alongside your math journals and math curriculums. The apps and sites can be used on tablets, laptops, or desktop computers. The kids will enjoy interacting with technology from time to time.
- ABCya.com – This site allows students to play games to practice both math and literacy skills.
- IXL – This is a purchased app that has math and literacy lessons and activities to complete during the year.
- Splash Learn – Use this platform online to practice different math skills. Assign the games in Google Classroom or pull them up on your device for students to use.
- Moose Math – This free app through Khan Academy allows students to practice different math skills independently.
Implementing various tools in the classroom is the key to student success. Ensure they have plenty of options to practice their skills, including fun math journals, and they will never get bored. Their brains will be engaged, and they will be excited for the next task!
FREE Math Journals Sample for K-2
Try 40 pages of journals for grades K-2 in your classroom with this FREE math resource! They are perfect for daily math review after a concept is taught or to warm up student brains before teaching a lesson. You can also use them as an exit ticket at the end of a lesson.
Click the image below to grab a copy.
More Math Resources & Ideas
PIN for Later