So I decided that they were truly giving me all that they could. That although they could verbally tell me these beautiful answers in class, they simply weren't able to form an amazing response independently in writing. So I started doing a little searching; trying to find a product on TpT or idea on Pinterest that would help my students become better 'math writers'. I was sadly disappointed when I couldn't find anything. So I had to put on my big girl panties and begin researching in a different way. Ya know.....the kind of boring stuff that they make you do in college. Gag! But I actually found several really good research articles that had great criteria and ideas for incorporating writing into mathematics understanding.
What I developed from this research was something EXTREMELY simple but I have loved giving my students a criteria in which to follow when writing their responses. When I introduced this to the class, we wrote three responses together over the course of three days. We used this time to make sure that they were using the checklist to help develop responses that are "up to Mrs. Wilp's standards".
You'll be glad to know that "Mr. I'm-Gonna-Write-There-Both-The-Same-And-Think-That's-Ok" is improving in his Math Journal responses. After introducing the criteria to the Math Journals, this is one of his entires. You can tell that he restated the question or prompt, used key math vocabulary, illustrated his thinking, and made sure that his response actually answered the prompt. The only thing that he may be lacking in my "Don't Forget to:" checklist is the fifth star: USE YOUR BEST HANDWRITING!!!