Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Math Journal Using C-E-R

Every day, my students begin math with our “Math Journal.” This makes writing about math and critical thinking a normal part of our day. My school uses the Think Math curriculum, and I use what is called the daily Headline Story from the Think Math lessons for students to write about in their math journal. The Headline Stories are basically open-ended statements rather than prompting questions. This forces students to decide,” What can I ask about this story? What can I say about it?” Also, there is usually not just one right answer. My students have gotten really good at coming up with pictures, number sentences, etc. to go with each story, but I have noticed that there is still some reluctance to actually write fully composed sentences about math.

Thus, I have completely revamped my math journal. Today is day 2 under this new format, and I am LOVING it! To increase rigor while at the same time having a structure to act as scaffolding for my struggling students, I use what is called C-E-R.

C=Claim (What are you saying is true?)

E=Evidence (Provide proof, proof, and more proof!)

R=Reasoning (Tie it together—how does your evidence prove your claim?)

So for example, today our daily Headline Story said, “There are more than 10 chicks in the barn. Some are sleeping, some are awake.” Students first had to make a claim (Ex. 8 of the chicks are asleep and 6 are awake). Then, they had to provide evidence (Ex. 8 + 6 = 14). Last, the tricky part, the reasoning! (Ex. There have to be more than 10 chicks, and 6 have to be awake. 8 plus 6 is 14, and that is more than 10. This works!)

Check out some samples below from my Smarties today!

Check out the that reasoning: "I know this because I counted 8 + 6 = 14, and 14 is more than 10 chicks." Bam! I can't help but smile ear to ear when I see students proving their thinking like that!

Here is yesterday’s example…

As you can see, critical thinking is just oozing from this daily routine of following the C-E-R process in our math journal. And on top of that, my students are EXCITED to write about math because they are so all about proving their claim. Win-win.

In terms of production, I bought folders with fasteners at 25 cents a piece. I printed the C-E-R page front-to-back and put 50 sheets in each folder. I then glued a math journal cover to the front of each folder and used Contact paper to make them more durable. I am sure that you have seen firsthand what a student’s desk can do to something that has not been fortified! Anyway, this ended up totaling about $1.00 per math journal. Not too shabby.

If you want to download my math journal cover and C-E-R form, just click here Math Journal Cover and C-E-R Template or on the picture below.

3 rolls of Contact paper, 5 hours, and 30 journals later, I will not be looking at Contact paper for a long time! :)

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