Anyway, I do have several math journal idas that I want to share with you, and I'm going to try my best to work that into my Saturday routine for the rest of the school year. Today, I want to start with the one rule that is by far the hardest for me to follow---don't focus spelling, grammar, capitalization, punctuation, etc. That is so difficult for me. My hand just twitches to correct those mistakes that just make me cuh-razy! But this year, I've forced myself to let it go, and it really has made a difference in the depth of my students' thoughts. It was almost as if my students had this huge weight lifted off their shoulders when I told them I was not checking for spelling and punctuation. I've made a really big deal about convincing my students that these journals were THEIR journals for THEIR thoughts. No one is going to grade the writing or the style of writing, grammar, or disagree with their opinions. What is important is that everyone's true thoughts are written. I feel like this has freed my students into allowing themselves to really focus on the content of their writing. I've especially noticed this improvement with my most resistant students. Here's an example:
At first glance, this my look like a diaster, but this was written by one of my students who entered my classroom wanting to do nothing. Ever. Getting anything out of this student was such a struggle. I remember thinking that there is no way he would ever actually write in his journal without constant prompting for me, but I haven't had this problem with any of my 50 students (I teach math to two groups). I think that this is an amazing first step, because once I can get a student going, it's much easier for me to guide them into the right direction (as well as seeing that I definitely need to add "like" to his spelling list).
On a totally different note, my students made a quilt on some of the the different people we've learned about in social studies. I'd disappointed that this picture didn't come out clearer, because this student did an amazing job on his Frederick Douglass quilt.
Have a wonderful Saturday!