Math Journaling Part 2..... Working with a Buddy

Hey y'all! Last week we talked about how introducing a daily math journal into each day, has huge benefits for your little mathematicians. If you missed that post, you can see it here... Math Journaling Part 1. Do you ever find an idea easier or clearer after you have talked about it with someone? I mean really talk it through....... I recently sat down with my best friend who is also a teacher and discussed the framework of a readers workshop lesson.  We talked for about 2 hour straight hours that day, and I walked away with a bag full of new ideas, old ideas validated, and a fresh outlook on a new year of reader's workshop.  During this conversation she and I took what she knew about reader's workshop, what I knew, and what research supports and put it all together.  We agreed, disagreed, and pondered over many ideas. In the end we both seemed to have a clear understanding of the work of reader's workshop and how we would create an even deeper workshop learning environment than before.  Working with a buddy really helped me solidify my understanding in this topic.  This is exactly how our students work.  As students are becoming risk takers in math journal and numbers, they need someone to talk through their problem.  Math buddies offers a great way for students to connect math thinking, share ideas, and grow understanding.  
 In my classroom students work with their math buddy during math journal time, 3 days a week and on their own the other 2 days.  They love working with their buddy and it really fosters that good conversation between two learners. When thinking about grouping my buddies, I always group on like ability level.  I want my students to grow and they need someone on the same level as them.  I would never group a high and a low together as math buddies, because the high has no one to have a deep conversation with and the low will continue to be confused.  I try to think about a few things when grouping buddies....
1. like ability levels (strategic with strategic, high with high, etc.)
2. Who will have good conversation together?
3. Which students will nurture each other's thinking?

Then I group my buddies and change them out each quarter.  Wow, think about how powerful that is to have four different people throughout the school year that they have had a chance to think deeply about math with for an extended time.

I also have math buddies work together during mathematician work after the mini lesson from time to time.  Sharing a conversation about numbers builds such good foundations in number sense and problem solving.
This is a way that I display my math buddies in the classroom. Students know who their buddy is, no confusion, and that equals more focused mathematicians. Click on the poster pic. for a freebie copy. 
I put their pictures on the poster with velco and switch them out each quarter.  I've also seen teachers use post its on this chart and just write the students' names.