K-1st Mini-lesson Day 6

Kindergarten and 1st Grade: Workshop Day 6
“Mathematicians Record Their Thoughts in a Math
Yesterday we learned that we use different tools during math
workshop, and how to get the tools and put them away properly.
Today we are going to learn about the importance of keeping a
journal during math workshop.
Prior to this lesson, the teacher needs to consider what he/she
would like for the journals to look like, and how they would like
them to be set up. Math journals do not have to be “fancy” but
the teacher needs to think about how he/she would like them to
be organized (loose paper in a folder, three ring binder,
composition book, will the journal have sections, etc.). Keep in
mind, the purpose of the math journal is to promote students
being able to articulate their thoughts and feelings about math
in their own words and using appropriate math language in their
**It is also recommended that the teacher have their own
personal math journal that can be used as a modeling tool when
needed throughout the year. **
Today we’re going to try something different. We’re going to do
writing and math at the same time! We’ll think about math, and
then do some drawing and writing about it. It’s kind of like
creating our own math stories!
I’m going to give you a very special place to keep your math
stories. We’ll call it your Math Journal. A journal is a place where
you draw and write about your thoughts. The Math Journal is a
place where you draw and write about your math thoughts.
Here’s what the journals look like. This one is mine. I’m going to
show you how to use your journal. Watch the way I use mine.
For now, I’m going to leave the cover blank. Later, we’ll write our
names on them and decorate. But at this moment, I’m just going
to open it up to the first page.
How can I tell that the journal is right-side-up and not upsidedown? Facilitate discussion and guide children to understand
that the staples or binding goes on the left, just like in a real
When we write in our journals, we’ll need to put our names and
date at the top of the paper. This way, if a page accidentally rips
out, we’ll know who it belongs to. Watch as I write my name and
date on the top of this first page.
Have a sample problem that you will work to model for students
in your own math journal. As you are modeling, show and
explain to students what procedures you want them to follow
for gluing in their journal. Show them how to open their book to
the next blank page. Where to glue the problem/prompt on the
paper (We don’t want it upside down. We want it at the top,
etc.) Make sure they see how it’s organized. Model for students
how you want them to respond to the problem or prompt in
their journal using their own words to explain their thinking and
using mathematical language. Consider doing this on the Hover
Cam, and using different colors to show different parts of your
journal entry.
Once you have completed modeling the problem you may also
want to explain the routine/procedure for journals (where are
they located, what signal will you give if you want the students
to bring their journals to the rug, etc.)
Before doing the active engagement part, you want each
student to have their own math journal.
Now it’s your turn! You’re going to do your first journal entry
today in your math journal. I will walk you through the steps. I
want you to open your journal to the first page and write your
name and date at the top. After you’ve done that, please put
your pencil down. That will be the signal to let me know you’re
writing you name and date on the first page and you’re ready to
go on.
Assist students in turning them the correct way and writing their
names and date on the top of the first page.
Look at my example math journal page. After I wrote my name
and date I glued my journal prompt down at the top of my page.
You may want to discuss with students how to glue the journal
prompt/problem into their journal. “Dot, dot, not a lot.”
After the children have correctly placed the problem in their
notebook, allow children time to “journal” their responses. Let
students share their entry with a partner.
Have specific partner groups share what they notice about the
journal entries that their partners wrote.
Remember, if you want to grow as a mathematician, you will
sometimes want to keep your mathematical thoughts in a
journal. As we go into this year, we will get better and better at
Independent: Give students a task that they can try that requires
them to journal their thinking. As they are working, move
around and look for model entries that could be used during
share time.
Watch for:
Students that are having trouble getting started, you may wish to pull them in small groups or
one on one to model the concept of journaling more.
Just like in writing, some students may be better if they “talk it out” before writing, they could
do this with the teacher or a partner. They may also do well if they “explain their thinking across
their fingers” to help organize their thoughts.
Share Time:
Pick one or two students to share their own entry for the day, and let the class listen for
mathematical language.
*Thank you to Allison Funk & Keri Smith, Instructional Coaches at Lyman Hall Elementary for their hard work on
developing these lessons.