Saturday Journal Thoughts

I wanted to take a quick second to share with you a little more about our math journals (thank you nap time).  When I created my journal prompts, I tried to think of questions where there was no right or wrong answer or what they think I want them to write.  I want to give my students an opportunity to share their thoughts without worrying about writing the correct answer.  I think that frees them up to be a little more creative and honest in their responses.  One prompt from earlier in the year was “Which Doesn’t Belong:  Product, Multiply, Separate  or Group?”  My students had to circle which word didn’t belong with the other three words and explain why is was different and why the other words were the same.  It was fun to see how different students chose different words, and how each student was able to support their thoughts.

I love that fact that I get a clear insight to my students’ thinking with these prompts.  They allow us to have deeper classroom discussions, and I have the opportunity to see common misconceptions about different concepts and ideas.

I’ve been working extremely hard this year to clarify misconceptions on word problems.  As you probably already know, we do tons of word problems in my classroom.  Between my Weekly Word Problems, word problem task cards, and the word problems thrown into our math tasks, I feel very confident in my students’ ability to solve word problems.  But, I’m afraid that they are relying too much on key words and not developing a deep enough understanding of WHY they should add, subtract, multiply, or divide.  The problem is especially noticeable on multistep word problems.  I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, but I hadn’t found anything that really broke apart word problems in a way that students could understand which lead to the creation of my newest product for teaching types of story problems.

There are 19 posters for each type of word problem for addition & subtraction and multiplication & division.

There are 2 mini books where students can write their own word problems that reflect each style of word problem.  One is for addition and subtraction and the other is for multiplication and division.

For practice solving and identifying types of word problems, I’ve created 22 addition and subtraction and 18 multiplication and division task cards. There are two task cards for each type of story problem.

I think this is going to be a huge help in allowing my students to dig even deeper with word problems.  If you’re interested in checking it out, here is a link that will take you to a preview.



  1. says

    I have been really working on word problems in my class too. It is so difficult for them to figure out what to do sometimes, especially in two step problems. I love your math journal responses. I need to implement something similar for my second graders:)


  2. says

    I love the journal entries. I need to have my kids do more writing in their math journals!

    I am always hesitant to teach "key words"- because something like 'more' can be so many different things. I really love Singapore Math's bar modeling for problem solving and helping kids understand what the problem is asking, but most of my kids see it as "extra work" and don't really push themselves to do it without me there. Oh well- I'll keep working on it!

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post! I'm already thinking about what I can prompt my kids to write this week, and I might have to pick up your pack sometime to help :)

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

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