The importance of mathematics cannot be understated. Math teaches more than addition, subtraction, simple equations and theories. Math teaches logic and order. Mathematical equations have a predictable outcome, and precise steps that result in a repeatable result. Math is the foundation to all scientific endeavors and the discipline of mind that children develop in math class can carry over into everyday life. Companies know this, and some businesses will hire math majors based on the presumption that students who are good at math have learned how to think. The modern classroom is a busy place, and it is vital for educators new and experienced to implement the latest strategies for how to help their students learn math. How to Read and Write in Mathematics: Improving Problem Solving and Communication in Mathematics teaches how to think about and solve math problems. There are strategies and tools that overcome fear and confusion, as well as teach students where to begin to solve problems and how to think through them toward solution. Specifically this course provides an in-depth exploration of teaching systematic approaches for solving math word problems and developing written and oral communication skills to describe solution processes. This course is for all grade levels and for students of different skill levels and learning types.

What teachers say about this course:


“With this class and my own experiences of seeing how emotions sometimes prevented me from viewing a word problem correctly, I see the importance of creating that effective classroom learning experience that will help my students solve word problems successfully and for them to describe their solution processes clearly. I have seen and will have my students see the deeper structure of math word problems. I see the power of asking the right questions (coaching, probing, and intermediate). I have seen firsthand how language arts journal writing has empowered my students, so I can’t wait to implement math journals as well. The same applies as I plan to expand using math rubrics. Again, I have enjoyed learning from this class and can’t wait to incorporate them in my own class and share them with my peers.”

“This course was very insightful. It walked me through how to successfully teach word problems which always pose a problem for students. Teaching students’ problem solving strategies and math communication skills has always seemed like a daunting charge. This course has given me numerous helpful strategies to be more prepared to help my students tackle these difficult tasks. I have learned that reading and writing in math is necessary and extremely beneficial in helping students’ visual and articulate their problem-solving processes. I teach second grade in San Francisco and the majority of my students are ELL. Making reading, talking and writing about math will help them enormously, especially given that the math assessments now include constructed responses where students must write detailed explanations of how they solved a word problem. I will definitely use the ABC list of strategies to help my students work through math word problems. I believe using Polya’s four-step approach of solving word problems will help students internalize how to solve challenging math word problems. I have learned that it is important to ask students questions to help guide them through multi-step word problems. I am excited to implement math journal writing and the sentence starters provided in this course will help me in doing so.”

“The key things I learned from this course is the following: It is important to help students be aware that confusion or not knowing how to solve a math problem is normal and to be comfortable with this. That there are deep structures within problems. I need to teach students a step-by-step problem solving approaching, such as Polya’s Four Steps which includes understand the problem, devise a plan, carry out the plan and look back. Included with this a list of possible strategies that can be implemented to solve particular problems. I need to model for my students how to read, comprehend, and think about problems. I also need to ask my students probing, coaching, and intermediate questions. Talking and writing need to be a regular part of my math lessons, and students need to be taught to self-assess their skills in writing explanations to their solutions. While I currently do not have access to a class I am looking forward to implementing these strategies and thereby reducing my students’ anxiety or affective filter when they approach mathematical word problems. I am looking forward to implementing the strategies I learned from this course with my class. Thank you!“

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How to “Read and Write” in Mathematics: