Saturday, April 17, 2010

Writing in Math

Getting students to write effectively and coherently is a challenge.  A challenge many educators feel ill equipped to tackle for a few reasons. First, educators themselves may be uncomfortable with writing, especially in the area of mathematics.  Much of our experiences with math has been very procedurally based using numeric representations that were not tied to any real-world connections.  Second, writing, like reading, involves many subtle steps and seemingly undefined nuances.  The old adage of, "we learn to write by writing," does not seem to translate to student growth in the classroom.  Third, many students have adopted the sentiment that math class is not for writing or that writing in math is hard and boring.

I once heard an author say, "I don't know what I am thinking, until I write it down."  In order to best educate our students for the needs of the 21st century, we have is essential that they know how to articulate their thinking via the communication tool of writing.  So how do we do this?  How do we develop better writers in math class?  This weeks podcast focuses on "7 Steps Educators Can Take to Improve Student Writing in Math" and check out the YouTube Search Story on Writing in Math.

Check out these additional resources:
  1. Six Steps to Better Vocabulary Instruction by Marzano (online in Educational Leadership)
  2. Closing the Vocabulary Gap by Jane L. David (online in Educational Leadership)
  3. Using Writing in Math to Deepen Student Learning by MCREL
  4. Systematic Vocabulary Instruction by MCREL
  5. Inside Words by Janet Allen
  6. Writing in Math Class by Marilyn Burns
  7. From Reading to Math by Maggie Siena
  8. Writing to Learn Mathematics: Strategies That Work, K-12  by Joan Countryman (recommended by Dr. Janine Stewart)
  9. Writing Math Research Papers: A Guide for Students and Instructors by Robert Gerver (recommended by Dr. Janine Stewart)

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