Ha! Isn't this the truth!
We met to discuss the results of our spring math test before school let out. It was a tough test and the rigor has been increased tremendously. Students need to work through tough multistep questions and must be flexible in using logic and strong reasoning skills if they are to do well on these tests.
Because of the new testing expectations, teachers are gearing up and planning on spending even more time and attention on improving mathematics instruction.
So herein lies a positive outcome!
One important component of my math program is the math journal.
My students split a marble composition book in half last year. The first half was for note writing and the second half was for problem solving.
Sometimes I will give my students a math problem to respond to in their journals.Other times it is much more open ended and students respond to their learning using a thinking stem (see below).
I am careful about what I use for graded pieces here. I am fearful that a graded journal would communicate that there is a "right" or "wrong" response. I would rather see the journal used for a place to write about their insights, understandings or partial understandings, connections, conjectures, and questions. I learn so much about what they know from reading these journals.
Note taking, including math vocabulary was done in the same journal but in another section. We often referred to prior learning before starting something new. Having notes recorded was helpful in building these bridges.
Here are some inserts that I use in the front of the math journal:
Here is an example of the student math responsibilities that I stress with all students. Being a productive math student fits in with our PBIS behavior plan.
Our school system is using the Exemplar Program to help students develop further in the area of problem solving. Next year I plan on focusing much more on this. We use a standard rubric to assess students. Key here is to teach the rubric to the students so they begin taking control over their own math learning and development.
Here are some of the math inserts I use for the math journal. Visit me on Teachers Pay Teachers to grab a free download of the ones shown below.