Editor's note: This post was originally published June 10, 2014.
During the summertime, it's essential for your child to practice math facts and keep up with her math skills. It's the best way to prevent the summer slide and ensure that she doesn't forget everything learned the previous school year during summer break.
A great way to get your child to incorporate math into her summer learning is to create a math journal. Here's how to create one with your child and encourage her to use it all summer long.
1. Create the journal. Together, you can buy or construct a math journal that your child will be proud of and want to write in each week. She can use a blank journal and decorate it, or a 3-ring binder with loose-leaf paper. However her journal is created, it's important that she make it her own.
2. Come up with journal questions or prompts. You can find math journal questions for your child online, or you can create your own. Questions can be simple and open-ended — allow your child to be creative in how she sees mathematics. Having a special place to explore ideas and write about math thinking is an excellent way to develop a strong math student.
You can also find problem-solving questions online or from a workbook that can be solved in the journal. These encourage precision and perseverance; it's important for her to realize that math isn't always fast.
Here are some sample journal prompts:
- Today I saw math when I did…
- Create a list of how I used math today.
- What I know about ________ (ex: subtraction) 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's important to set a schedule during the summer for how long and how often your child will be working in her math journal. It can be daily or weekly, for 20 or 30 minutes — whatever you decide is best for your child. In no way should this feel like a chore! Setting up your guidelines ahead of time will help alleviate any resistance.
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 child shares her work and journal responses. Children feel a great sense of pride and accomplishment when their time and efforts are validated. So remember to make it fun!
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