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Math 3-6

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Math 3-6 > Strategies > Writing to Learn Math

Writing to Learn Math

Overview

Writing that encourages students to articulate their understanding of math concepts or explain math ideas helps deepen students' mathematical understanding. Tasks, such as writing about how they solved a problem or writing about what it means to prove something, help students get a concrete handle on the logic of their ideas, supporting their Reasoning skills.

Use It in the Classroom

Watch how this fourth grade teacher uses writing as part of her students' problem-solving procedure. In using "I have to" and "I will" statements as templates, the students become aware of the goals and strategies they use and practice communicating them clearly. This helps them become more organized with their thoughts, thus strengthening their Algebraic Thinking.

  • Teachers can bring writing into math classrooms by asking the students to keep records of what they are doing and learning. By describing their learning process or reflecting on aspects they are struggling with, students learn to monitor and reflect on the strategies they select, fostering Metacognition while also giving teachers a window into their learning.
  • Design It into Your Product

  • Developers can include interactive writing activities, such as explaining a mathematical idea to an imagined or real peer who has expressed difficulty. Impromptu writing prompts to a specific question or problem or summarizing and restating concepts in their own words can also give students an opportunity to demonstrate in the moment their thinking processes and develop their Math Communication skills.