Back-to-School Issue: September 2007
Featured Topic:   Writing in Math Class
Teachers incorporate writing in math class to help students reflect on their learning, deepen their understanding of important concepts by explaining and providing examples of those concepts, and make important connections to real-life applications of the math they are learning.   Teachers use the writing assignments to assess student understanding of important concepts, student proficiency in explaining and using those concepts and each student's attitude toward learning mathematics.   Writing in mathematics is a win-win for both teacher and student.   Although it may be difficult to introduce this practice, it is well worth the effort.   Look for simple ways to incorporate short writings throughout daily lessons and longer writings over the course of weeks or math units.
To read more about this topic:
- Check out Writing in Mathematics for suggested strategies and writing prompts.
This new Mathwire.com collection includes back-to-school glyphs, math-literature connections, problem solving activities and morning routines. Find some new activities for those first weeks of school.
- Check out Back-to-School Activities.
Active Participation: Using Math Templates
Math templates and whiteboards also encourage students to write in math class. Students may be asked to write the answer, show their solution method, define and illustrate a math vocabulary term, extend a pattern, etc.
The use of whiteboards and templates in sheet protectors allows students to quickly respond to questions, work out problems, etc.   Teachers who use these assessment tools are able to easily assess student understanding throughout the lesson and adjust instruction, as needed, to meet identified student needs.
- Have students keep frequently used templates in their desks for easy retrieval.
- File template copies in milk crate and distribute as needed or have assigned students retrieve copies for their group/table.
- Organize binders of grade-level templates and number pages. Students may fold back the cover to use a template. This method also works well when students use templates on the rug as the binder provides a firm writing/erasing surface.
Check out these Mathwire.com resources for some new routines to add to your repertoire of effective strategies.
- See Active Participation Using Math Templates for suggested strategies and resources.
- See Template Library for math templates in PDF format that are designed to be placed in sheet protectors so that students can use dry erase markers to record answers.
Recent Additions to Mathwire.com
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Alphabetical Listing of Mathwire.com Topics
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Mathwire.com is designed to provide activities and appropriate worksheets for teachers to use in their classrooms.   All activities and worksheets support the constructivist approach to learning mathematics and the NCTM Standards.
Activities:   The activities on this site were developed by Terry Kawas and the teachers in districts where she has worked as a math consultant and coach or with students she has taught in college math-methods courses.   The activities are classroom-tested by teachers and appropriate modifications have been made to reflect this field-testing.   These activities are posted online in an effort to share quality activities and routines within the mathematics community.