We’ve moved away from the classic type of squared exercise book for pupils towards each child now having a learning journal, with blank pages, much more space for them to describe their learning, go more deeply into the main concept and explore connections between the main concept and other mathematical areas. The way it works is that the teacher prepares a simple problem or question which incorporates several key learning objectives. This is pasted into the middle of the page in each child’s journal. It will include a range of elements, such as diagrams, a challenge question and prompts for the pupils, such as Show/explain how you know; True or False? Explain; Is there more than one way to do it? Around this sheet on the page of the journal, there is plenty of blank space for each pupil to do their calculations, and record (in words) their observations and responses to the prompts.
The children are encouraged to record their learning in the way that suits them, so this may be pictorial or symbolic. Teachers take photos of practical resources and every child is encouraged to try to explain their learning in their own words. We have found that this has really enhanced the pupils’ learning, and they enjoy it more as well. The freedom to choose their way of working means that every child will 'give it a go'. There is no pressure to move on from a pictorial representation until the child is ready. Having a learning journal allows the children to see the links for themselves between the iconic and symbolic.