Middle School Math Journals and more!

I think if you have read any of my posts from the past on math, like this one, you would know that I struggle with ensuring a mathematics education. Having a very creative daughter, it has been even more of a struggle to ensure that she both enjoys math and yet has enough practice that math becomes skills rather than just concepts.
This has not been an easy balance, so this year I decided to try something very different and I think that it is actually working!!
First, I purchased two resources to get me thinking about math in a different way. I liked this Math Journal as this is very much an artistic experience, but I also liked this Hand’s On Interactive Math Journal which feels a little more like a Lap N’Note. I decided to purchase them both. I then read them and started to get some ideas how to even go about doing a math journal. 

In the past I had created some materials for math and so I began gathering some math activities that I had. I then went on the internet and found many creative math ideas like these ones. I have gone to Let’s Play Math many, many times and continue to refer to it.  I also have been a member of the Yahoo Group from Living Math for years now. I went through our Living Math books and purchased a few more, including Who Killed Professor X?

I went through all the manipulatives in our home and looked at which ones would be useful for Middle School.
I also started researching Apps for our IPad that would help with many concepts including Algebra and balancing equations. You can find them on my Scoop it! Apps page
Finally I purchased a few new spiral bound Sketch Books for the process.
In British Columbia we have our Learning Outcomes set out with Student Acheivement Indicators. These have been very helpful for me to understand what is required. They have also been helpful in understanding what types of journalling Elizabeth would need to do. I have gone through and made a master list of learning outcomes and we are working through them one by one!! This has been alot of work, but I know that it is worth it!! It will continue to keep me focussed on the concepts that need to be covered. 

Based on the topics, I then went to Teachers Pay Teachers to find some activities to go along with each outcome. There are 1667 free resources for Grade 8 Math alone!!
For each topic of learning I am trying to create opportunities for creative expression, concrete activities or games and finally practice, practice and practice! That is where I have been using this site - Math-Drills.com . It has a variety of free math worksheets on topics that are clearly set out. They include answer keys as well. This has been wonderful!!

Homemade math activity to explore integers through differences in temperature 

This year math is feeling so much more like a learning experience! Elizabeth is actually learning something and not just going through the pages of a math book with nothing actually sticking! I encourage you if you get discouraged about math, consider combining a creative math journal and applicable activities with math practice! I will keep you posted!!