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Writing in Math
Writing in Math
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Reading and Writing to Learn Mathematics
ISNs in Math
Writing to Learn
This Wiki was created as a site to collect information, resources, ideas from fellow teachers about writing in the mathematics classroom.
If you have any resources that you would like to add to this site please feel free to add them.
If you have examples that you want to share please feel free to add.
If you have questions that you want to pose please feel free to pose them.
Writing is critical to the communication skills of our students.How we approach developing that skill is important from a pedagogical standpoint and a developmental perspective for our students. The NCTM recognizes the importance of having students write in their Standards and Principles document, and Reading First recommends having students express their thinking in content areas through writing.
If so many experts believe it is important, why don't more mathematics teachers incorporate writing into their instruction?
We know that being able to communicate mathematical understanding is critical to being able to relay how much a student has learned about math, but we also know that it is difficult to do and very difficult to do well. We need to support students in their attempts to communicate their understanding through writing. It's not necessarily a natural process for students to be able to communicate concisely or precisely what their understanding is. So the question becomes how do we do that? It is not a simple answer and I don't think there is just one answer, but I think we need to think about having our students write about math at all levels and that writing may and probably should take on lots of different forms so that students are able to write for a variety of audiences. The main issue for me is that we provide students scaffolded support in the process, including modeling, gradual release, and reflection on the processes of writing in a math class.
Here is what I believe are the obstacles to getting teachers to write more with their students:
1) teachers don't know how to develop a plan for incorporating writing into their instruction in a real and meaningful manner (a manner that enables students to learn math content at higher levels),2) teachers don't know what good writing in mathematics should look like, 3) teachers don't want to have to grade writing (isn't that one reason we became math teachers?), 4) teachers don't know how to develop writing in their students (even if they think it would be helpful they don't necessarily know what good writing looks like and more importantly they may not know the next steps involved in the writing process) and 5) teachers don't value the process enough to try to work it into their practice (I didin't need it to learn math, why should they!).
I look forward to hearing from others about why, also.
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