Kindergarten Math Journals

Instructor: Melinda Santos
Math journals can be used to help kindergartners visualize mathematical problem solving and understand age-appropriate concepts. Use this list of math journal ideas to engage young learners and to find other helpful teaching resources.

What are Kindergarten Math Journals?

Math journals are sometimes also referred to as problem solving notebooks as they provide a space for children to record and work through math problems. By drawing pictures to correspond to mathematical equations, and/or showing the steps of their work while solving problems, these journals help kids identify problem solving strategies, visualize solutions and organize their thought processes.

How to Use Math Journals

One great feature of math journals is that they can be used in a variety of ways, and how you use them can change from day to day. One day you may ask students to record and problem solve warm-up board work, the next day students can use them in math centers or for homework. offers various math lessons for kids that can be translated into a variety of math journal activities. The most important part of using math journals is to provide frequent opportunities for students to use them, so they can easily refer back to entries and understand the concepts presented. Below, you'll find a few different ways of using math journals in a kindergarten classroom:

  • Shapes and Patterns: Give each student a worksheet to glue into their notebook that has multiple patterns of shapes in rows (i.e. circle, circle, square, circle, circle, square, etc.). Have students color the shapes according to a color key (i.e. circles = red, squares = green, etc.). This activity helps kindergartners with shape, color and pattern recognition. Have students count the shapes or colors to practice recognizing quantities and to apply addition skills.
  • Shorter or Longer: Have students draw a vertical line down the middle of their notebook page. Ask them to write the word shorter on one side and longer on the other, assisting them if needed. Next, have them cut a piece of construction paper into strips of various lengths. Ask them to separate the lengths of paper into two groups, shorter and longer, and then glue them on the appropriate side. This activity allows students to compare and categorize lengths, and can begin a lesson or unit on measurements.
  • Classroom Counting: Ask students to draw pictures of a window, chair, clock, computer, boy, girl and bookshelf in their math journals. Next, ask them to go around the classroom and count how many they see of each item and write the number by each picture. After everyone is finished, count all the items together. This activity provides an interactive way for students to identify objects and count them.
  • Money Sorting: Give each student an assortment of coins, including pennies, dimes, nickels and quarters. Ask them to trace the coins in their math journals. Talk about the various sizes of each coin and their different values. Have students write the value of each coin inside the coins they traced. Ask students to calculate how many coins of each type they have and the total number of coins. This activity helps student with sorting, counting and identifying monetary value.

Teaching Resources

For other ideas and information about math instruction, provides quick refresher courses, lesson plan ideas and instructional strategies in an easy-to-use format. Check out the links below to find resources that can be used in your classroom:

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