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Language and literacy skills support many aspects of math problem solving. Additionally, students need advanced language skills to understand and communicate about math in classroom discussions. Students with stronger language skills are more likely to experience better math outcomes.
Many of the language skills that are critical for early reading, writing, and math continue to be important for math success in later grades. These include Vocabulary, Phonological Processing, and Verbal Reasoning, which support a variety of math outcomes.
Additionally, as students get older, they must be able to use discussion skills to engage with peers and teachers to explain how they solved a problem and comment on other methods. These skills also include justifying their approach and asking questions of their peers. Math Learning Environments that encourage this type of Math Communication improve students' math learning across student populations, encouraging equity and positive student Emotions.
Visit the literacy model to explore many of these language-related Factors.
Teachers support language development by using and providing vocabulary and syntax that is appropriately leveled (e.g., using simple sentences when introducing complex concepts).
Providing math tasks with high cognitive demand conveys high expectations for all students by challenging them to engage in higher-order thinking.
As students solve problems in a group, they learn new strategies and practice communicating their mathematical thinking.
CRA is a sequential instructional approach during which students move from working with concrete materials to creating representational drawings to using abstract symbols.
Students activate more cognitive processes by exploring and representing their understandings in visual form.
Knowing the language of math is critical because students must use this language to understand math concepts and determine calculations needed.
Analyzing incorrect worked examples is especially beneficial for helping students develop a conceptual understanding of mathematical processes.
When students explain their thinking process aloud with guidance in response to questions or prompts, they recognize the strategies they use and solidify their understanding.
As students walk through stations working in small groups, the social and physical nature of the learning supports deeper understanding.
Adding motions to complement learning activates more cognitive processes for recall and understanding.
In guided inquiry, teachers help students use their own language for constructing knowledge by active listening and questioning.
Spending time with new content helps move concepts and ideas into Long-term Memory.
As students work with and process information by discussing, organizing, and sharing it together, they deepen their understanding.
Math centers support learner interests and promote the development of more complex math skills and social interactions.
Rhyming, alliteration, and other sound devices reinforce math skills development by activating the mental processes that promote memory.
When students have meaningful conversations about math and use math vocabulary, they develop the thinking, questioning, and explanation skills needed to master mathematical concepts.
By talking through their thinking at each step of a process, teachers can model what learning looks like.
Teachers sharing math-to-self, math-to-math, and math-to-world connections models this schema building.
Instruction in multiple formats allows students to activate different cognitive skills to understand and remember the steps they are to take in their math work.
Visual representations help students understand what a number represents as well as recognize relationships between numbers.
Connecting information to music and dance moves enhances Short-term and Long-term Memory by drawing on auditory processes and the cognitive benefits of physical activity.
Having students teach their knowledge, skills, and understanding to their classmates strengthens learning.
When teachers connect math to the students' world, students see how math is relevant and applicable to their daily lives.
Students deepen their understanding and gain confidence in their learning when they explain to and receive feedback from others.
Providing space and time for students to reflect is critical for moving what they have learned into Long-term Memory.
Math games and manipulatives for vision differences support math development for learners with visual needs.
Children's literature can be a welcoming way to help students learn math vocabulary and concepts.
Multicultural resources, such as posters with different types of people and word problems based in different settings, allow all students to see themselves in their math work.
When students monitor their comprehension, behavior, or use of strategies, they build their Metacognition.
Sentence frames or stems can serve as language support to enrich students' participation in academic discussions.
When students create their own number and word problems, they connect math concepts to their background knowledge and lived experiences.
Transforming written text into audio activates different parts of the brain to support learning.
Students deepen their math understanding as they use and hear others use specific math language in informal ways.
Providing visuals to introduce, support, or review instruction activates more cognitive processes to support learning.
Visual supports, like text magnification, colored overlays, and guided reading strip, help students focus and properly track as they read.
Wait time, or think time, of three or more seconds after posing a question increases how many students volunteer and the length and accuracy of their responses.
A word wall helps build the Math Communication and vocabulary skills that are necessary for problem solving.
Analyzing and discussing solved problems helps students develop a deeper understanding of abstract mathematical processes.
Writing that encourages students to articulate their understanding of math concepts or explain math ideas helps deepen students' mathematical understanding.
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