Saturday, January 24, 2015

Written Communication in the Math Classroom

How do you encourage student writing in the math classroom? When students are asked to write, it stretches student thinking. It encourages students to reason about a math concept/skill while stepping away from simply performing a procedure to get an answer.

Think about it. Writing gives a voice to every student. How powerful is that?! When creating prompts and/or questions for students to respond to, consider writing open ended questions that have multiple entry points. In this way, all students have access to the task. Keep them short. Consider the following: Recap today's lesson. Can you say it in 6 words? Think about how selective students will need to be in choosing their words. With a quick glance, you can see which students got the gist of the lesson. Purposeful questions fosters students' reasoning of mathematical concepts.

Check out this FREEBIE at Pam's Place. It has some math prompts and questions that you can use with your students. The math prompts and questions are designed to be used with any math topic. You can use them for journal writing or as exit tickets. For journal writing students can attach the prompt or stem in their math journal and respond at the end of class. In this way, students are given time to reflect upon the day's lesson and think about their thinking.

Or, use the math prompts/questions as exit tickets. Exit tickets set an expectation that students need to be actively involved during the lesson to be able to demonstrate their understanding in a thoughtful way. Students can be given time at the end of the class period to synthesize the day's lesson by completing an exit ticket. Once the exit tickets are turned in, information can be gathered to guide instruction the next day.

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