Math journals provide students with opportunities to articulate their understanding of math concepts and/or their frustrations with the gaps in those understandings. Their use supports metacognitive thinking to enhance understanding and application. This study took a look at the use of math journals by fourth grade students as a conduit for critical thinking, reflection, and real world math application. For this study, student journal entries consisted of identification of a real-life event, the use of a problem-solving strategy learned during class instruction, narrative of both the problem’s description as well as the rationale for choosing the problem, and the use of a numeric or pictorial model with solution. Students shared his/her journal entry with the entire class. Through this research, I witnessed evidence of growth in mathematical understanding, computing and a deeper connection to math’s many real-life applications in the lives of elementary students.

Author Biography

Mrs. Benson-O'Connor currently teaches at Hollis Grade School in Peoria Illinois at a fourth grade level with the addition of a fifth grade science course. She has had a kaleidoscope of educational experiences including working as a part-time teaching assistant, a one-to-one aide, a substitute teacher to all grade levels, as well as a full-time teacher in Kindergarten, First Grade and now Fourth and Fifth Grade. She is currently near completion of a Professional Masters Degree in STEM Education at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. She enjoys writing, running, science, her three sons.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.