Communication in Mathematics Writing to Learn by elq38566

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```									Communication in Mathematics:
Writing to Learn
Based on the article:
Morrison, B. J. (1992). The role of
communication in mathematics. Math
Monograph No. 10 of the Alberta
Teachers’ Association, 14-22.
Communication in Mathematics
(Writing)
– Short Writing Assignments
• Regular and Brief: At the start, at the end
– Examples: “How does…relate to…?” “Write a question
containing one or more of these word: right angle,
perpendicular, side, hypotenuse, parallel.”
– Class Logs
• Written accounts, available during class, that
provide information on previous math classes
Communication in Mathematics
(Writing)
– Journals
• Useful for organizing regular writing assignments
• Example prompts: “We learned two ways to graph
quadratic functions before I used the graphing
calculator. The easiest way for me to do it was…
because….” and “What I’m finding hardest right
now is…”
Communication in Mathematics
(Writing)
– Writing Activities Using the Text
• Especially useful for secondary students.
• Examples: “Have students explain or justify each
step in a solution presented on a text page, create
another example or counterexample, or rewrite the
page in the way they would prefer to see it written.”
“Have students list four topics from a chapter and
write a summary for one.”
Communication in Mathematics
(Writing)
– Writing on Tests
• Short writing assignments
• Examples: “Compare and contrast…”, and
“Describe your understanding of the procedure for
factoring the difference of two squares. Create an
example of your own using the numbers…to verify
Communication in Mathematics
(Writing)
• Study Aids and Reviews
– Chapter Summaries
• Relate what has just been learned to what was
previously known and look for the bigger picture.
Allows students to make critical connections.
– Definition Cards
• Can be used as an activity in which students write
about math terms and give examples, work in pairs,
revise and refine or give a specific example in their
own words, and pose a problem to be solved.
Communication in Mathematics
(Writing)
• Students need experience in expressing their own
generalizations discovered through investigations and to write
convincing arguments to validate them.
• Prewriting, writing, revision, and final copy stages
– Prewriting: A stimulus is provided, e.g., an engaging problem
– Writing: Students explore, think about the problem, organize
their thoughts, ideas: Rough, on paper.
– Revision: Focus, and clarify ideas, create examples and
counterexamples; add, delete. Draft copy presented.
– Final: Good copy in final form presented.
Communication in Mathematics
(Writing)
• Writing About Attitudes, Thoughts and Feelings
– Personal Math Histories
• Beginning of a course or new semester.
• Find out where students are coming from
– Attitudes Toward Mathematics
• Monitoring student disposition
• Involve students in self-assessment and reflection
– Examples: “Yesterday I learned that…” and “So far in this
course, I …” and “As a problem solver I have no problem
doing…but…still bothers me…”
Communication in Mathematics
(Writing)
• Writing About Math and Its Applications
– Research topics
• Topics from history
• Discoveries of famous mathematicians
• Write a major paper
– Math Hunt
• Work in groups, find 10 adults who use math in their careers.

• Long term assignment: Interviews, description of the math,
final report
Communication in Mathematics
(Writing)
• Assessing Student Writing
– Teachers must establish a purpose when selecting
writing assignments and must then evaluate whether or
not that purpose is met.
• Show students their thoughts are valued
• Key: That it be a learning experience
• Students need regular feedback
– Spot check, or hand papers in or exchange with peers, or share
orally, etc. (depends on the writing task)
– Write back, respond to the work, assign grades include as part of
the course mark. (Not all teachers do assign grades though)
– Consider a rubric

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