Making the Most of Math Journals

I have one tip for math journals....
JUST DO IT! 
What should I expect in math journals?  How do students show what they know?
The hardest part is keeping it going.  I won't lie.  I phase in and out myself but when I get a little jump start I always realize that it is the BEST part of my math instruction.  We are consistent with math journals if you look at our year long progress but day to day it varies. Today was a good day.  I went back to a simple addition problem to focus on 3 components.  #1 Draw a picture #2 Write an Equation #3 Write a sentence to answer the question.   Here are a few insights....

Here's the problem.  Hunter loves to play football with his brother Tanner.  Tanner threw the ball to Hunter 7 times on Monday. He threw the ball 2 times on Tuesday.  How many times did Tanner and Hunter practice throwing the ball this week? 

What should I expect in math journals?  How do students show what they know?
 Ok. so this little one is all over the place but they have the picture.  We have been focusing on writing words to go with our pictures (can you tell?).  While the picture is great and they got to the answer we are going to focus in on clarity.  
What should I expect in math journals?  How do students show what they know?
This student focused in on trying to write words but didn't write  a number sentence to go with it.  The picture is clear and they showed their strategy but we want to work on adding in an equation next time.  
What should I expect in math journals?  How do students show what they know?
Ok, this kiddo only got around to a picture but I was so proud that they added in their strategy (counting the circles or "times they threw the ball").  We've talked a lot this year about being able to draw a picture and then show how we got to our final answer.  

Do you know what gets them even more motivated?  Walk around and take pictures of their work :)  Have you ever heard of the Seesaw app?  I started using it this week and it is pretty cool!  It's a great way to create a safe online portfolio for kiddos.  Just search Seesaw on your Apple or Android device! 

Thanks for stopping in today!  Need help getting started on math journals? I've outlined how I get started HERE