Sunday, August 11, 2013

Math Journaling

The next installment of Math Journaling. 

During the first week of school, after we've decorated our math journals, we practice our multiplication table.  We usually do our multiplication table during the first few minutes of class after our math warm up.  Then we begin our Factor Ts.  We use these throughout the year.  I teach prime/composite, divisibility rules, odd/even, factors, multiples, GCF, square numbers, reducing fractions, and so much more.  It's really important that the kids have the correct answers because we use them all the time.  It follows the same idea of factoring that most people call the rainbow method, which drove me insane since being a tad OCD, I never put enough space for numbers with many multiples (like 24) and put way too much space for those pesky prime number that were large (like 61).  Usually the second day of class, I allow the students to pick one partner.  Yes, I allow them to pick a friend if they choose, but after this time, they usually pick someone other than their friend.  There's something about learning for yourself that your best friend is not always the best partner during academic assignments.  lol 

1. Partner up
2. Calculator - I allow them since the focus of this is not to see if they can multiply but to determine all the factors. 
3. Assign them a set of 10 numbers (we do 1-100)
4. Give them some time (about 30 minutes) to come up with their factors.  During this time, many of them will begin to use strategies like skip counting.  I usually circulate the room and discuss divisibility rules.
5. Depending on time it's usually the next day for me, we (the students) list their factor Ts on the board.  This is the important part of the lesson because we want all the kids to have the correct factor Ts since we use them all year.  They will often correct themselves and discuss their strategies (like skip counting)  Ps...sometimes I give them extra credit if they copy a given number's factor T on their homework.  I am sure to mention this when we are going over them on the board - just to be sure EVERYONE is paying attention.
6.  Afterward, we discuss divisibility rules again and show lots of examples.  We color code our prime numbers and square numbers.  These factor Ts are a great way for students to get a visual of prime numbers and square numbers. 

Here's some pics

Hard to see but I started them on the left in pencil.  When we do the first few together, we discuss even numbers will always have two.  We discuss that we should know we are done when we do a U-turn (by this I mean - example number 6 - 1, 6, 2, 3 - the U-turn is from 2 to 3)  You need to see it on the paper to really understand. 
pencil is not looking good...I thought I'd never say it but pen in math on these (Don't let the kids do them in pen, they will have mistakes before you go over them together)
This is the process many use while skip counting (on twos now)
Below - you'll see color-coding the prime and square numbers - this will open up the conversation of the number 1.  Kids will question why it's not prime.  Read the definition to them and have them point to the factors - it will help them understand why it's not prime or composite.  BTW....49 always throws them - they will forget 7x7 - be ready

You get the idea.  I usually run these on colored paper so that they are easy to find in the journal.  They are the second thing I do, so at the beginning.  I ran out of space on those pesky numbers with lots of factors, so I will make them a little larger. 

If you want a copy of the Factor Ts, leave me your email address in a comment and I'll send it.  Or you can click on the last picture, and it'll take you to TpT to download it for free. 


  1. Oh man--this is so much better than the spreadsheet I have my kids write them on. It's definitely a big project in their eyes to get all of the factors, but they are so happy to have that list later in the year (we refer to it often). I like your idea of having them list the factors of a given number on their paper for extra credit. I'll have to try that this year!
    I would LOVE a copy of these factor T's to use with my kids!

    1. You should receive it. Hope it makes factoring a little easier for your kiddos.

  2. This is a really cool idea! I don't teach math this year, but might just download it incase I do teach it again!!
    The E-Z Class

  3. I would like a

    THANKS for sharing!


  4. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I like your t chart for listing factors and would like a copy. Thanks.

  6. I like your t chart for listing factors and would like a copy. Thanks.

  7. I would love a copy

  8. I would love a copy of this if you still have it!

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  10. I just started as a math resource teacher and this might really work to get the kids to understand. Would love a copy if you can still send it!

  11. I love this! We have an interactive notebook that is becoming a great resource, and this would add to it perfectly! I would like to have a copy if you don't mind to send it :)

  12. I would like a copy. Thank you.

  13. I would like a copy.

  14. I would love a copy, please!

  15. I would love a copy, please and thank you!