This year I transitioned into the guided math model for my math block. The change happened in October and has been going strong ever since. It was spurred on by the fact that I have a smaller physical classroom and 24 students. Having all my students at their math centers all at once was too chaotic for me. Even though my students were engaged and learning, the noise level and space issues were making me anxious. I kept trying it because the year prior it worked so well for me. This year it just would not work!
With the help of my team, I began changing my math block into a workshop model. I have shared this before HERE on my blog.
One new component of my math block is a math journal. Having students keep a math journal began began when I decided to break up my math center time into different components rather than having everyone at math centers all at once. I couldn’t be happier with the result! My student’s journals are full of all the lessons and practice from our year of guided math! There’s such a variety of different activities. The concepts have spiraled through the year and gotten progressively more advanced. Don’t get me wrong, I still firmly believe in the hands on practice and application of math centers and my students do that EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.
For journaling my students have a ten minute journal time during their guided math rotations. They use this time to show what they know in our current concept or in a spiraled concept. My students can work together at times and they always have a buddy check system so they can reflect, compare, and self monitor while I am doing a guided math lesson at my teacher table. Having an example journal finished for them (without answers) helps as a reference when they are just getting used to how these journal activities work. My students no longer need it, but at first it was REALLY a life saver.
If you are interested in trying out math journals, I have a freebie here for you. It can be done without being placed in a journal. Click this picture to download on google docs!
We are still working through both our Winter and February Journal activities in our classroom. Plus there are a couple more activities in my Oh for the Love of Math Centers that we still need for our journals too! Since November every math center packet I have made has a journal component. This way I know they are practicing the concept throughout the math block in many different ways. One thing I can say for sure is that changing things up mid year was the best thing I did. If things aren’t working for you, don’t be afraid to change it up. My kids adjusted well and it gave us all something new in our day to focus on.
If you are interested in trying out math journal I have the following units in my store.
Or each month is also sold if you don’t need the bundle.