Friday, September 23, 2016

Content Literacy in Secondary Math

Wow - this blog's gotten a bit dusty. But here I am. Let's just pretend it's been 5 minutes instead of ... too long. 

I've been asked to work with a small group of teachers regarding content literacy strategies. We'll be meeting in groups of around 7 teachers (all math and science) during their planning periods. The school's improvement goal this year is to improve student performance on the ACT and English 2 state exam. The idea is to support that goal through implementation of some new strategies & some serious changes in expectations for reading and writing across the various content areas. 

I'll admit, I haven't done much work on this subject in math, but I'm excited to learn some new techniques and get to researching! Obviously, if we want students to have meaningful discourse and justify their thinking, we need to promote academic language and writing in our math classrooms.

Of course, my first thought was to check the TMC and GMD archives, but I didn't find very much. If you know of something I missed, please comment below!!

One of the articles I found listed 10 ways Literacy Can Promote a Deeper Understanding of Math.  I found it interesting that most of the items listed are things we do naturally in math class, but that it's important to formalize verbal explanations on paper. I thought a great "baby step" was to take discussions and put them online, which encourages students to write, edit, and read other responses. 

I also reached out to our county's SIOP & Differentiation coach. She does a training every semester on specific strategies for math to help our EL students. She has some incredible resources - check out her blog and resource site!

A couple of my favorite resources from her site are the Glossary of Strategies & Activities and the Bloom's Question Stems for ELs.  These resources are meant to support EL students, but the idea is that they're necessary for ELs, and beneficial for all students. I think so many times, it's easy to forget about this population within our schools. However, I'm trying to remember that ELs represent a microcosm of our larger student population when it comes to struggles with literacy and academic vocabulary. 

Link up any math content literacy resources/articles/etc you've got below!