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Create a Summer Math Journal

Get your kids to incorporate math into their learning throughout the summer by creating a math journal.
on June 10, 2014

Instead of fighting with your children to complete boring math workbook pages this summer, consider making a math journal together.  Yes, children need to practice their math facts and keep up with their math skills throughout the summer; however, it can get very boring and repetitive for kids.  And we (the parents) become the enemy because we are "forcing" them to complete pages or do 20 math problems.  A different way to get your kids to incorporate math into their learning throughout the summer is to create a math journal.  

1.    Create the journal. Together, buy, make, or create a math journal that your children will be proud of and want to write in each week.  They can buy a blank journal and decorate it or use a folder/3-ring binder and use loose-leaf paper.  However the journal is created, it's important each child make it his/her own and take responsibility for choosing or creating a math journal.

2.    Create journal questions or prompts. You can find many different math journal questions/prompts online or create your own.  They can be simple questions that are open-ended and allow your children to be creative in how they see mathematics.  Or you can find problem solving questions (either online or in a workbook) that can be solved in their journals that promote attention to precision and perseverance.  It's important for children to realize math isn't always fast.  It can take time, and having a place to explore ideas and write about their math thinking is an excellent way to create strong math students!  

Example journal prompts:
•    Today I saw math when I did…
•    Create a list of how I used math today.
•    What I know about ________ is…
•    Write a poem about _________ (ex: fractions).
•    Research a mathematician and write a report about him/her.
•    My best day with math was…
•    My worst day with math was…
•    One math activity I enjoyed was ________ because…
•    My goal in math next year is…
•    Pretend I am a shape.  What shape would I be and why?
•    Design a math bumper sticker.

3.    Set a schedule. It is very important to set a schedule during the summer for how long and how often your children will be working in their math journals.  It can be daily or weekly, for 20 or 30 minutes; whatever you think is best for your kids.  In no way should this feel like a punishment!  Setting up these guidelines ahead of time will help alleviate any arguing or complaining.

4.    Have a journal party or sharing ceremony. To keep the math journal fun and exciting, consider having a journal party or ceremony where your children can share their work and journal responses. There can be a great sense of pride and accomplishment when children feel their time and efforts are being validated.  So remember to make it fun!  

About this blog

Scholastic Parents is a trusted source of expert advice on reading and learning. In the Learning Toolkit blog, get quick and easy tips on how to support your child’s learning at home. From playing a fun game of creating new words during dinner to solving bedtime math stories and using easy tricks to try with homework problems, this blog offers simple suggestions for supporting your child’s development at every age and every stage.

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