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Literacy in Maths

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by elainem, May 1, 2012.

  1. My pupils always seem to struggle with explain answers. Perhaps some practice at this would be good for their mathematical reasoning as well as literacy.
    I use Eplanations : the four stages idea;
    1. Can you explain it to yourself (in your head)
    2. Can you explain it to a friend (tell them how you worked it out)
    3. Can you write it in a letter to a pen friend (write it down just as you said it in stage 2)
    4. Can you write an explanation for your Maths Teacher (the key words will help as your Maths teacher will expect you to use the correct mathematical vocabulary)
    Could they also write some instructions for things, maybe instructions on how to solve an equation or convert between FDP. Writing for purpose and audience is a good skill to practice. They could even write a page of a text/revision book for a younger age group and then pupils could try to follow their instructions or revision book to answer some questions on the topic to see if their writing makes sense.
     
  2. I like using vowel-less maths key words as a quick puzzle starter. Kids seem to quite like it too. Take recent key words and take the vowels out, for example if we'd been doing shape I might put up: CBD, SPHR, PRLLLGRM, PYRMD. Quite nice for low ability groups, good practice for spelling key words.
     
  3. I like that, seems like a nice quick thing to prepare and fun too. Thanks for the idea!
     
  4. tomcosgrove

    tomcosgrove New commenter

    I think a couple sentances explaining a topic when it is appropriate is much better than 1/2 an A4 sheet every 3 weeks or so. It will hold less value and waste a lot of time in a lesson. Seems unneccessary to me.
    For example I recently taught how to find the mean from a frequency table and I asked my students to write out how to do it at then end of the lesson as a plenary. " multiply the value by the frequency and write the result in a new column....etc." I feel it fulfils any ofsted literacy push and it helps them articulate their thinking.
     
  5. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    simple ideas that would, I agree, apply. Primary pupils regularly use highlighters to show the information that they consider important in a Maths problem. I would suggest you adopt a similar approach. Very worth talking to Primary colleagues as they all teach Maths and have wide experience of applying literacy to all sorts of subjects.
     
  6. How about getting pupils to fill in a maths 'diary' at the end of each lesson (makes a nice plenary). That way it's a little bit every lesson (or once a week if you don't want to do it that often) rather than a big chunk once a fortnight. You could get students to write down what they learnt and how they felt about it. You could even ask them to consider whether they're ready to move on to another topic and use it for planning your next session. I've used something similar before and it gives the really keen students a chance to say everything they've been desperate to show off about but you haven't had time to listen to and gives the weaker students a chance to share their worries about maths with you more privately if they want.
     

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