Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Writing In Math Class

Hello Everyone!

I don't know if you caught my Periscope about this book but I said I would be blogging about it and here I am! I hope you are having an amazing summer. Are any of you back in school yet? I officially go back on August 12, with students starting on August 17. I can get into my classroom on August 3rd so I will be back at it full-time then! I am so excited to meet my new students and kick off my 4th year of teaching.

One of the things I have done this summer is take a course online to move over on my district's pay scale. I took a class called Writing In Math Class. I took this because whenever it comes to having my students write about math, I end up wanting to pull my hair out. I feel so unsuccessful as a teacher. It has been a great course ( I actually finished the final assignment today :] ).

The required text for class was Marilyn Burns' book Writing in Math Class : A Resource for Grades 2-8.

When this book first arrived I saw the cover and thought of how outdated it looked. I preceded to look at the publication date, 1995, and thought that I probably wouldn't learn much to apply to my 2015 Common Core 5th grade classroom. Boy, was I wrong!

Marilyn Burns was way ahead of the times when it comes to writing in math. This book made me realize that writing doesn't have to be some huge essay, which is what I always in my mind thought of. I also realized that I have to take baby steps and teach them how to write about math (Yes, even with my fifth graders) to get them to the point where they can write essays (if that's what my teacher heart desired, but it's really not).

The book is divided into 3 major parts: why students should write in math, types of writing assignments, and tips and suggestions.

I thought that the first section was really eye-opening and made me realize how important writing is in math, and that I need to do it.

I found the second part very interesting because I never really thought about there being different types of writing in math.  Marilyn Burns talks about that there are 4 types of writing we can have our students do. Including writing in a math journal/log, solving math problems, explaining a mathematical idea, and writing about thinking. There is a chapter for each of the types in which she gives examples of prompts and experiences she has had with various ages. She does a really good job of giving examples for all levels in each of the 4 types.

There is also a chapter of creative writing and math which I found really interesting. I had never thought to have students write poetry about math! She gives some really great ways to incorporate writing into math without kids really realizing they are writing about math.

In the third and final part of the book she takes time to give tips and suggestions including how to help students write, how to use student writing and giving feedback, plus some other good stuff. There is also a 'Questions Teachers Ask' section which I thought was pretty neat.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I found a lot of interesting ideas and materials that I believe I can truly incorporate in my classroom this year. If you have students who struggle to write in math, I believe this book can be very beneficial for you!

Let me know in the comments if you have read this book or plan to. I would love to have a dialogue about what you thought about the book! Also feel free to let me know when you are officially back in school!

Thanks for reading!

Love of love,

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