4. Help teachers assess individual strengths and needs
Journals help learners communicate their knowledge about mathematics, and how they feel about the learning environment they are in. That’s good news for students, but also great news for teachers! By reading journals, I can evaluate my learners’ progress and recognise their individual strengths and needs.
In this Year 5 lesson, learners were asked to reflect on what they had noticed about the relationship between equivalent fractions. The skills needed were multiplication and division. The following example is an entry from a struggling learner who could make the connection with equivalence within the 2 and 3 times tables. The learner attempted to relay their understanding of the concept using a diagram, the bar model.
It was clear that while this learner was attempting to relay their understanding using an image or model, they lacked the conceptual understanding required about fractions in order to progress further in the learning. Based on this, a same day intervention was scheduled to work with a small group of children using concrete materials to build their conceptual understanding of fractions.
There are many ways to motivate learners to journal: problem solving, process prompts, language experience or class discussion. Whatever method you use, you’ll start to see that journaling builds a strong foundation for maths mastery.