Teaching Math Writing

Posted on by admin in blog

When we talk about curriculum, we think of specific content areas and learning objectives. Often, though, teaching involves telling stories. In the English language arts classroom, for example, students are told stories of people through literature, and they can chronicle their own lives by communicating their learning through their writing.
In history class, students are told the stories of past events and how people can learn lessons from those who came before them. Students write from primary and secondary resources and through prediction. In science class, students explore the stories that reflect the reality of nature. However, it is different in math writing. Math writing is not about writing in narrative form. Instead, it involves logic and reasoning.

What about Math Writing?

Math always seems to be about number sense. So, what story does math tell? Math writing can tell the story of logic, of the data and statistics needed to prove predictions and theories. All subjects are related, though. Individual lessons support other lessons, and they prove that real life isn’t segregated, that content is truly integrated.
However, secondary teachers are trained and grouped by subject area credentials, and so their abilities to integrate subjects can become weaker and more atrophied over a period of time. One way to combat this is to incorporate writing into each subject area. Writing in math is a universal thread that can unite all content areas.
Writing is a fundamental skill of communication, and it can be a basic skill that every class requires. There can be more to writing in math than simple justification. Math in the USA is driven by some core beliefs:

  • Teaching is a true profession. Americans have enormous respect for teachers as scientists and mathematicians. Most teachers grapple with ideas that can be central to their discipline at advanced levels. With this perspective, each student can strengthen his or her skills in writing in math.
  • Professional educators are always learning. Great teachers improve continually in their academic areas: their experience in the teaching craft, their depth of knowledge, and their ability to teach the strengths of each student in the classroom.
  • The principles involve deep collaboration and ongoing growth. The best teachers need time and opportunity to work with peers to grow throughout their careers. Teachers work together to exchange ideas and challenge each other.
  • The profession is elevated by honoring greatness. When we advocate for the best teachers today, we raise the prestige of the profession and find the best possible candidates for this career.

If to talking to students, the advice is simple — keep learning. Learn more about math and other subject areas that can help you benefit as a student. If you currently don’t write in your math classes, begin with simply one sentence. Read articles from Math Horizons, or other scholarly works about math, take math student projects. When you get a feel for what writing about math looks like, you will be able to write about math, also.
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