Series Bridging Content & Language: Strategies from a Dual Language Classroom: My Thinking Logs: A Literacy Practice for Math

My Thinking Logs: A Literacy Practice for Math

Lesson Objective: Use journals as a place to explain mathematical thinking
All Grades / Math / ELL

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Discussion and Supporting Materials

Thought starters

  1. Why is it important for students to talk it out before writing?
  2. What supports are in place to help students write out their ideas?
  3. Why is this an especially effective strategy for English Language Learners?

8 Comments

  • Private message to Elizabeth Jones

My name is Elizabeth Jones and I am a third grade teacher at Seward Elementary.  This is my 19th year of teaching.  I currently have a class of 17 students.  We have been working on personalized learning for the last few years now, which is something we had all been doing beforehand, but we are trying to focus on certain aspects each year.  This year our focus is on data and incorporating it in the classroom.  Last year we focused more on student reflection.  This is why I selected the video, My Thinking Logs.  I love the idea of having the students send their reflections through pictures to the teacher, but still having a journal where they store their thinking as well.  With the focus this year being on student awareness of their data, adding these pieces into their thinking journals would also be a great benefit. 

My Thinking Logs: A Literacy Practice for Math
My Thinking Logs: A Literacy Practice for Math
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  • Private message to Kathy Renfrew
The strategies will work in science also because we are very concerned with student thinking and reasoning. In science we are helping students question, investigate and then develop a claim supported by evidence and eventually coming up with scientific reasoning.
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  • Private message to Kris Carey
Thanks for the comments! We love using these for so many reasons, first and foremost because it gives our students a chance to explain their thinking, which sometimes is the hardest part of the task. It's a quick way to assess for misconceptions so we can get to those students who may need a check in to address what they might be missing.
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  • Private message to Gretchen Vierstra
Kathy, that is a great idea! Thanks for being willing to share!
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  • Private message to Kathy Renfrew
I am wondering how others are considering applying what they have learned from the video. It would be great if we shared some strategies. I am going to do some thinking and then post some of my ideas. I hope others will too.
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Transcripts

  • My Thinking Logs: A Literacy Practice for Math Transcript

    Speaker 1: Write some things down that you're wondering, some questions that

    My Thinking Logs: A Literacy Practice for Math Transcript

    Speaker 1: Write some things down that you're wondering, some questions that you have.

    In our math box, we have a My Thinking section. After the students noodled and strategized over a problem, a difficult problem, they have a chance, then, to write down their thinking and transfer that into their My Thinking section.

    And I'm going to ask each one of you to take one of these. This is kind of a reflection, like we did earlier.

    And they get a sentence stub that says, "This is what I learned, and I know this because," and they have to expand upon that.

    There's a few lines down here. Is it okay if it goes down into your math log and you add even more?

    Students: Yeah.

    Speaker 1: Absolutely. Once you have this, go ahead. Start writing. Put it inside your My Thinking. Five minutes. When you feel like you're ready, take a picture. Send it to me.

    When they're done, they take a picture of it, and they send it to us in Google Classroom, so as teachers, we're able to instantly see what it is that they're working on without taking 50 notebooks home. The benefits of having this is it gives our ELL students a chance to share their thoughts and to write them down after they've practiced speaking them, so we are able to pair that oracy piece with the written piece that goes with it to make them stronger in their language.

    Write down any kind of thinking that you might want to record right away, even if you're not sure.

    I would suggest to any teacher that wants to use them it's a great strategy. Make sure that you're practicing that oracy piece first because, if they can't say it, it's hard for them to write it. When they're writing it, it helps to have sentence stems and ways for them to start if off so that they don't get that writer's block that sometimes students get.

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School Details

Banting Elementary School
2019 Butler Drive
Waukesha WI 53186
Population: 473

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Kris Carey
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