Communication is an essential piece in the learning process – it provides students an opportunity to justify their reasoning or formulate a question, leading to gained insights about their thinking. In order to communicate their thinking to others, students must be given authentic tasks to reflect on. Through cooperative learning, students can learn from the perspectives and mathematical processes of others. Further, they can learn to evaluate the thinking of others, building on those ideas for their own self-assessment.
The purpose of the Math Word Wall [MWW] is to identify mathematical language that students need to understand and use. If they are unfamiliar with this vocabulary, they will struggle to effectively apply strategies in the problem-solving process and will have difficulty communicating their thinking with others.
♦ Introduce math vocabulary using relevant objects, pictures and/or diagrams. Visuals are KEY!
♦ Clearly explain word meanings and make connections frequently
♦ Do not teach math vocabulary in isolation -- use open-ended questions to helping students understand mathematical ideas and model how to use mathematical terms correctly.
Using literature in math can spark students’ imaginations, helping to dispel the myth that math is dull, inapplicable, and inaccessible. Reading about math can help reach at-risk students who struggle in the mathematical process, opening their minds to the ever-present phenomenon in their world that is math!
Integrate the curriculum -- teach mathematical concepts and skills through literacy
Helps to motivate and engage students in problem-solving experiences connected with real world
Addresses different learning styles and helps to promote an appreciation for both math and literature
Check out these resources for teaching mathematics through literature --
When students are encouraged to write in math, they examine, express, and keep track of their thinking, which is especially useful for assessment and differentiation. To enhance and support their learning, students must first understand the reasoning behind writing in math. Further, they need to understand how to write in math – explain and model mathematical writing using details such as pictures, numbers, and words. Students’ writing can be used as springboards for classroom ‘math chats’, highlighting different approaches to problem-solving.
1. I wanted students to express their thoughts and feelings towards math, especially with the specific content and planned activities.
2. I wanted students to build their metacognition skills. Self-reflection is a key component to one’s learning and general goal setting. I wanted them to learn how to express when they weren’t getting something and think about what to do when this was the case.
3. I used the math journals to build, develop, and reflect on their collaboration and communication skills.
Be sure to provide writing prompts –
What do you think? What idea do you have?
What are you confused about?
What did you learn?
Describe what was easy and hard for you.
What type of math concepts do you find interesting? Why?
When I hear this math word, I think….
If I could ask for one thing in math, it would be…
Tell me about your prediction. Were you right or wrong?
What strategies do you like to use the most? The least? Why?
When students are given an opportunity to talk about math, they are better able to clarify their own thinking, ‘talk out’ misconceptions, and learn from others’ problem-solving strategies. It is the role of the teacher to facilitate these discussions by engaging students in sharing and listening, questioning and responding, and agreeing and disagreeing. During ‘math chats’, the teacher can further assess students’ understanding of concepts and redirect or differentiate instruction based on the students’ immediate learning needs.
However, the classroom must be a safe and inclusive learning environment so that students feel comfortable to share and make mistakes publically. Students need clear, highly set expectations on what ‘doing math’ looks like, sounds like, and feels like in the classroom. Once the ground rules for respect have been established, then authentic mathematical dialogue and collaboration can evolve…that’s when the real learning begins!
Math think-alouds can engage students and help them to make their way step-by-step through the problem-solving process. Best of all, they can be used quite effectively both in school and at home!
What I particularily like about this site is the option to Share a Strategy! I find the best differentiated instruction I can provided is always influenced by the shared resources of fellow teachers, as well as the parents of my students with special needs.
The Teaching Strategies and Resources are organized according to:
This website provides substantial and effective ideas for implementaing strategies in the classroom. Suggested teaching strategies are listed for each student need, and organized as instructional, environmental, and assessment. Links for resources are provided, as well as a brief introduction on the characteristics of the special need.
The sections on IPRC exceptionalities and Frequently Asked Questions are particularily useful for new teachers and parents -- information is clearly presented on the IPRC process, as well as potential placement opportunities. The section on Special Education Processes is further useful for teachers writing IEPs, implementing strategies, seeking documentation resources, as well as information on assistive technologies.