Differentiated Math Journals

I don't know about you, but differentiating instruction has been a big push at my school. I'm completely on board with this idea...I know it's so important to meet the needs of all your students where they are. However, I was having a very hard time implementing differentation into my classroom. I felt that I was already juggling so much, and I thought that differentiating meant I would be having to make two or three sets of lesson plans to be able to give my students what they needed. I know this isn't the case now, but it can be a difficult concept to put into action!

This summer I thought of an EASY way to differentiate during math instruction. We're encouraged to use math journals with our students...this was another idea that I loved, but it was hard to find the resources and time to implement them. Well, I managed to solve two dilemmas with my differentiated math journal prompts!

We use Go Math at our school, so I created them to go with our curriculum. Each Go Math lesson has two correlating journal prompts. The "circle" prompts are meant for struggling and on-level students; the "square" prompts are meant for those students who need that extra enrichment.

 Of course I never mention that to my students, and they won't even be able to figure that out -- I am always changing who gets a circle or square prompt. Some students might struggle with a lesson the day before, but knock the next one out of the park...I'm not going to limit that student to using only "circle" prompts. This way they'll be challenged to the best of their ability. My students won't catch on to the circle/square difference because at some point, all of my students have used both! :)

Here's a peek at two of my students' journals from our very first math lesson! That's right...these are from the second day of school... I'm so proud!! :)

To be honest, I gave all of my students the circle prompt for the first few lessons. I wanted them to get used to math journaling first. As I walked around, I loved seeing how different their thinking was. I made a big deal about that in my classroom the first time we used these. I pulled three different students' journals and put them on the document camera to show them how there isn't just one right answer to the journal prompts! It was fun to see the look on their faces when they heard that one! ;)

I also wanted an easy way to manage these journal prompts, and I definitely found it! I bought two sets of these mini drawers from Big Lots and whipped up some quick labels. I prep them on Friday for the next week, and I'm DONE!! Now, after I've walked around and checked my students' work, I just tell them to go get a circle or square prompt for that day. They do the rest! I am loving it!!

If you use Go Math and are interested in giving these a shot in your own classroom, you can check them out here! I currently have Ch. 1-4 up in my TPT store, and the rest are on their way. For the next 48 hours, you can grab them for 20% off!!! :)

For those who don't use Go Math, I'm hoping to take these same prompts and organize them by Common Core standard. I'm not quite sure when that will be, but hopefully sometime in the near future! :)

Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment

  1. We are using Go Math for the first time next year! Can't wait to try out your journal prompts. Thanks!