I am in my 14th year of teaching and the one thing I have realized is the more I talk the less they get. Maybe this points out a weakness in my ability to teach, but I always thought there was a better way to teach math. My class is project based and there are three major components: math journals, dailies, and group projects. As the title states my favorite days are math journal days. Now you are probably wondering.......what is a math journal?
I teach 7th grade math and our school is in its 2nd year of 1:1 with Macbooks. I always wanted to do a better job of connecting math to the world around us and making math fun. I wanted to build a bridge from math to kid's interests. In my class there are no tests, worksheets, or busy work. Two days a week my kids have the entire period to work on their math journals.
A math journal is where the kids learn a math lesson and create a presentation over a concept they learned. The presentation covers the math (which they make up the problems and answer it) and a connection to a topic. The kids can relate them to anything they want. The kids create their own due dates and get to pick any math journal they want in any order. Sounds crazy and chaotic doesn't it?
The kids love it. They get to create their own learning journey and get to make a
connection to their lives. The best part is as a teacher I get to have
one on one time with each student and have a personal conversation with
each student. I let them listen to music under two conditions, they have headphones and they get their work done. Teacher secret: It keeps them in their own world and cuts down on the off task talking time.
Here are links to my math journal pages.
Math Journals A - D
Math Journals E - G
Math Journals H - Q
Math Journals R - Z
If you click on the title it teaches the lesson, if you click on the picture it gives the project for the kids to do.
When they are done they "grade out", which means I look through their presentation and they explain the concept without looking at their work and answer questions I have. My favorite beginning of the year comment to the students is "You can't hide from a conversation." They learn it quickly.