Making Math Meaningful through Reading and Writing

Math class? You bet.
[Wikimedia commons]


Reading and writing with math enables students to process real-world applications of math. Similar to mathematics, reading involves two parts of a thinking process: the transfer of information to the reader and the comprehension of that information on the part of the reader. Writing engages both hemispheres of the brain, as the learner generates ideas and organizes them. Writing allows students to clarify their thoughts and allows teachers insight into students’ thinking, making it valuable in the math classroom.


Getting Started

Consider the learning goals for your students, then choose the type of reading and/or writing activity that meets the goals. For improved comprehension, you might have students write about a math concept you’ve introduced to them, asking them to write an explanation of the concept to a friend. For helping students understand real-world applications of math, you might ask students to read current news articles involving math and share a summary with a classmate.

Implementing reading and writing encourages students who enjoy reading and writing more than the computational process of math and increases deeper understanding of mathematical concepts.

Educational Connections

Ways to use reading and writing in math class:

Writing prompts:

  • Thoughts, concerns, feelings regarding math class
  • Journaling
  • Math autobiography
  • Letter to the teacher
  • Freewriting
  • Math concept or process
  • Effort in class, goals, study habits

Use current articles demonstrating mathematics embedded in real life:

  • Provide students with articles, have them create magazine of excerpts from articles
  • Ask students to find articles on their own including real-world math; students can choose the topic based on their interests
  • Students read the article, summarize it, and compile it into an online magazine

Assessment can be completed via a writing rubric that includes effective communication and content understanding


Example: Student-produced Math Magazine Publication:

Reading and Writing in the Mathematics Classroom:

Reading and Writing in Math Class:

Making Micro-Credentials Matter

Here’s another post about micro-credentials that I enjoyed reading. Here are a few highlights.

“Badges, certifications, skill identifiers–you’ve probably seen micro-credentials in one digital form or another. But how do we know whether they actually matter in the real world?” How can we “get micro-credentials to the point where they’re valued as evidence of what adults have learned and can do.”

Here are a few of their suggestions.

  1. Keep time and autonomy sacred
  2. Badging platforms need to talk to one another
  3. Micro-credentialing should target the process, not just the end

I recommend reading the full post as it tackles many of the tougher issues around micro-credentialing.

Source: EdSurge

Play Is the Beginning of Knowledge

21st Century Skills: It’s More Than Just Technology

“Given the growing ubiquity of [technology] in schools, as well as the increasing numbers of educators advocating for their use, it can seem as though education may have reached a tipping point when it comes to improving students’ 21st-century skills. According to the Partnership for 21st Century skills, these can be categorized as the 4Cs: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration.” — Beth Holland

Beth goes on to share that she has started to worry about the growing presence of what she calls the Fake Cs.

Source: EdWeek

Intelligent Minds and Standardized Tests

6 Traits of Life-Changing Teachers

“In education there’s a lot of talk about standards, curriculum, and assessment—but when we ask adults what they remember about their education, decades after they’ve left school, the answers are always about their best teachers. So what is it about great educators…that leaves such an indelible impression? If the memory of curriculum and pedagogy fades with time, or fails to register at all, why do some teachers occupy our mental landscape years later? We [at Edutopia] started getting curious: What are the standout qualities that make some teachers life changers?”

Edutopia asked its Facebook community to respond to this question and received more than 700 replies. Upon analysis some clear patterns emerged. Read their full findings here.

Source: Betty Ray, Edutopia


Teach Them to Make a Life

It Needs to Be Part of Every Lesson