Journal Entries  Let's incorporate writing into math
"Metacognition" Teaching to Think About Their Thinking
The purpose of this lesson is to help students begin to understand how to communicate their thinking
The purpose of this lesson is to help students begin to understand how to communicate their thinking
Mathography
A paragraph or so in which someone describes their feelings about and experiences in math, both in and out of school.

Metacognition
Thinking about thinking

Reflect on your participation in class today and complete the following statements:
I learned that I... I was surprised that I... I noticed that I... I discovered that I... I was pleased that I... Use drawings and graphs to explain your mathematical thinking.
Research shows that using simple visual aids (diagrams, graphs, etc.) improves mathematical problemsolving ability, especially in female students.
Pay attention to your thinking
The more attention we pay to our thinking, the more we'll come to understand about the process of thinking. Although we're used to just being concerned about the results or the "answers," if we pay more attention to how we think, it would help us to think more clearly, and improve the quality of our results.

Take two minutes
Explain in your own words what subtraction means. Explain what is most important to understand about fractions. Write down two questions you have about the work you are doing/the lesson we're working on. Review the last three entries in your journal. Select one to revise. Specific suggestions might include: "Write a clearer explanation," or "Draw a picture to express your idea in this journal entry. Do 0.2 and 0.020 equal the same fraction? Explain your answer. Allison's team won 8 out of 10 games. Jennifer's team won 15 out of 18 games. Whose team won a greater fraction of its games? Explain your answer. "Who is correct? The problem: Which fraction is biggest? 1/3 or 2/5?" Jamar's solution: 2/5 is bigger because 15 is the LCD and 1/3 equals 5/15. 2/5 equals 6/15. So 2/5 is biggest. Bill's solution: I used the calculator. I made them decimals and then compared the decimals. For 1.3, I divided 1 into 3 and got 3.0. Then I divided 2 into 5 to get 2.2. 3.0 is bigger than 2.2, so 1/3 is biggest. 
Why did you wear what you chose today?
Take Two minutes to write down why you chose what you wore.
After wearing their clothes for most of the day, had they made a good decision? Why or why not? Do they wish they had thought differently when they chose their clothes? End Result of Lesson:
Students will have a beginning concept to use in their discussions/writings about their math answers; and you, as a teacher, have the clothing example to return to many times as an example of metacognition they can then apply to math.

Prompt Ideas:
1. Write down some of the early math accomplishments that you remember from when you were little. For instance, when and how did you learn to count? How old were you when you could first count to one hundred? Who taught you? How did they teach you? Did you "show off" this new talent to others?
2. When you were in first, second, or third grade what did you like about math? What didn't you like about math at that time? 3. What do you remember about learning to add and to subtract? Which did you think was more fun? Why did you like that one better? 4. What was your teacher's name in first, second, or third grade? _______________ What kind of teacher was he or she in regard to teaching mathematics? 5. Did you have any "tricks" you used to remember adding or subtracting? 6. In what ways is adding and subtracting important? 7. Was math ever your favorite subject? ______ If so, when was it? What about math made it your favorite? If math has never been your favorite subject, what about it do you not like? 8. From your experience, do you think boys or girls tend to like math better? What makes you think this? 9. Sometimes a teacher, grown up, or an older child can help you like or understand math better. Did that ever happen to you? If so, tell about it. If not, tell about how that would have made a difference for you. 10. Sometimes people can recognize a time when their opinion of math dramatically changed either for the better or the worse. If such a time happened for you or for a friend of yours, tell about it. If you did not experience such a thing, tell about your steady feelings about mathematics. 11. Lots of times students think what they learn in math is only for the classroom and is really not of much use outside math class. Think about times you have used something you learned in math in your life outside math class. List some of those times when you used math outside of school. 12. What year in school was math the best for you? ________ What made it a good year in terms of math? 13. What year in school was math one of the worst for you? ________ What made it a bad year in terms of math? 14. If you were in a lengthy conversation about math or math class with friends of yours, what would be some of the things you would say? What would be some of the things they would say? 15. Draw a picture of you and the idea of mathematics. 16. Draw a picture of all you know about mathematics. 
Lesson #2: Peer Evaluation of Journal Entries.
The purpose of this lesson is to help students refine their "thinking about thinking" by analyzing many different written responses to the same writing prompt.