Tuesday, July 12, 2016

MIA / Math Journal and Vocabulary Docs

For those of you who following this blog, I apologize for being MIA this past year.  Besides teaching my special education resource math classes, I was teaching a new cycle class in my school for the 8th graders to help them to be more efficient and effective with Google apps.  I spent a few weeks last summer updating my Google Certification to a Level 2 Google Certified Educator.  And I also finally began working towards my masters in Applied Technology in Education online through Wilmington University in Delaware (I'm loving it so far!!).  So needless to say, this past year has been slightly overwhelming and extremely busy, leaving me no time to blog.  My goal for the coming year is to get back into blogging, but with more of an emphasis on math than technology, although I will definitely incorporate technology when appropriate.

One thing I did want to mention, as I promised to fellow blogger Matt Coaty last summer, is how I handled my students' math journals this past year.  One of my goals this past year, which tied in to my building's initiative, was to have my students do more writing in math class.  Since they have 1:1 Chromebooks, I took advantage of that and set up a Google Classroom assignment at the beginning of the year which provided my students with a template for their Math Journal and Math Vocabulary Google Docs.

Here's an example of one of my student's math journal.
I know writing is difficult for many of my special education students so I didn't want to make journal writing too overwhelming for them by having them write too often.  I decided that after every quiz (which was just about every two weeks), after they handed it in, I would have them go to Google Classroom and answer the writing prompt I had left as an announcement in the Classroom stream.  They had to copy the prompt and paste it into their journal, add the date, and then answer the prompt in complete sentences and sometimes provide examples.  (I had my expectations at the top of the document, and the students added their entries below that each time.)  The prompt usually asked them something that summed up the unit they just took a quiz on to demonstrate that they could put their knowledge into words.

What I liked about this method of journaling is that I could easily check up on them and make suggested edits on what they had written.  I could conference with them individually if needed based on what I saw while the rest of the class was finishing up their quizzes and journal entries.

Here's an example of one of my student's vocabulary document.

The other thing I had them use a Google Doc for was a math vocabulary document.  It was basically a running glossary of all the vocabulary terms they learned throughout the year.  It had three columns for the term, the definition, and an example.  The example, many times, was completed in the "A Web Whiteboard" app, then exported and pasted into the examples column of their vocabulary document.  After the first few times with this process they became very efficient with it.

I really liked the way this system worked last year, so I will be continuing to use it with my students again this year.  I would love to hear from other teachers about how you have your students using technology for journal writing or anything else in math class!  Enjoy the rest of your summer break!!