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Brad WilcoxEula Ewing Monroe Teachers often find it difficult to integrate writing and mathematics while honoring the integrity of both disciplines.
In this article, the authors present two levels of integration that teachers may writing a reflective report example as a starting point. The first level, writing without revision, can be worked into mathematics instruction quickly and readily. The second level, writing with revision, may take more time but enables teachers to connect the writing process more fully with mathematics instruction.
Six examples are provided, including student work, in which teachers have successfully attended to the goals of both writing and mathematics. The and reports of the National Assessment of Educational Progress NAEP writing as ses sment National Center for Education Statistics,administered to 8th and 12th graders, show an increase in writing scores.
The results, however, were lower in mathematics. Indeed, many teachers find it more natural to integrate writing and science e. Wolsey examined the complexity of student writing and vocabulary learning in a cross-disciplinary writing project involving English, science, and social studies.
That we see so few examples of the integration of writing and mathematics in educational literature seems surprising, considering that the mathematics education community has affirmed the importance of such integration for many years. Strategies That Work, K, captured the attention of mathematics educators amid a flurry of interest and ideas e.
Almost a decade later, NCTM specifically stressed writing as "an essential part of mathematics and mathematics education" p. Still, many teachers struggle to link writing and mathematics and honor the integrity of both disciplines at the same time.
Teachers of writing might say that if students are assigned to describe the process they used in solving a problem with no revision or editing, the quality of integration is drawn into question. Teachers of mathematics might say that if students are asked to write a report on a famous mathematician they may not be engaged in developing mathematical reasoning no matter how many drafts they write.
Although the appropriate balance may be elusive, the endeavor is nevertheless worthy of being undertaken e. There are two levels of integration that teachers may use as a beginning point. Writing without revision, the first level, can be readily worked into mathematics instruction.
Writing with revision, the second level, may take more time but enables teachers to connect the writing process more fully with mathematics instruction. Each level can be appropriate under differing circumstances.
She had her students write in what she called "mathematical notebooks" p. She also had her students write about mathematics in a process-oriented way during writing workshop.
This article presents six additional examples, including student work, in which teachers have attended to the goals of both writing and mathematics.
By no means are these ideas new. Teachers may have been introduced to them before, but perhaps not in the context of mathematics. Although the following suggestions are not exhaustive, teachers have found them to be a promising place to begin. Writing without revision Learning logs As students start class, they are given a prompt to which they respond for a few minutes in writing.
The task is not designed as a mathematics problem per se, but rather to encourage students to focus on mathematics.
One fifth-grade teacher typically used learning logs to review previously learned material.
On one occasion, the prompt she posed was, What did we learn about mean, median, and mode? Most students wrote at least a half page filled with definitions and examples see Figure 1A. While studying probability, one student wrote the following definition: Learning log entries by fifth graders — definitions and examples of mean, median, and mode Figure 1B: Learning log entries by fifth graders — definition and examples of probability This teacher found that the quality of the learning logs improved as students shared their work: Learning logs honor the integrity of writing when students write their own connections and examples.
At the same time, they foster mathematical understanding by engaging the minds of students in transforming information from facts to be memorized to the construction of meaning e. Think-write-share Teachers often ask questions and count on having at least one or two students raise their hands.
One fourth-grade teacher tried to involve everyone in the class by allowing think time and expecting students to write before sharing. For one think-write-share, she asked, "What is an equivalent fraction?% ORIGINAL WORK Original pieces of writing.
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