Written by Rona Reid, Instructional Coach

ReLeah Lent’s workshop on Interdisciplinary Literacy, on Sept 29, 2017,
focused on "disciplinary tools that
deepen student involvement and understanding in all subject areas. As students
begin to use literacy the way experts do, they read and write about content,
solve problems, ask questions, make decisions, discuss topics, and develop
knowledge in a way that truly sticks.”

ReLeah explained that each disciple has its own
unique approach to literacy; this post will focus on take-aways for
teaching

**mathematical literacy**.
What does literacy look like for
Mathematicians? According to ReLeah Lent,

**“Mathematical literacy involves patterns, relationships and examples of understanding through visuals and abstract representations. Math is a discipline based on developing understanding through the act of solving problems, and the text often utilizes organization, language, and syntax that differ substantially from text in other disciplines.”**
When Mathematicians read, they:

• use the information they are reading as pieces of a puzzle to be
solved

• make meaning out of mathematical symbols and abstract ideas

• act as investigators looking for patterns and relationships

• seek to understand what the problem is asking them to do, rather than
reading only for information

• ask questions as they read

• make notes of misconceptions or confusion

• read for accuracy and clear mathematical reasoning

• scrutinize ways that math is reported in the media or in
real-world applications

• apply previously learned mathematical concepts

• look for what is missing

• think about how vocabulary may be used differently in math contexts

Examples of math mentor texts: Blogs, Math
magazine articles, read alouds

To promote visual literacy in Math: picture books, cartoons, 3 Act math
tasks, and info graphics

When Mathematicians write, they:

• explain, justify, describe, estimate or analyze

• use representations

• seek precision

• utilize real-world situations

• communicate ideas clearly

• Draw conclusions

Examples of

**how students can write in Mathematics**:
• "When students celebrate Pi Day (March 14th), they write piku instead of haiku. Haiku is written
in 5-7-5, but a piku is written 3-1-4.”

• Students create a “how to book”
for quadratic equations, teaching each other using all five methods.
Students then write a reflection on which method they prefer to use when
solving, and include disciplinary vocabulary and real-world examples.

• When learning about parabolas, ask students to find/bring in examples
of the curve in everyday life and then write a justification about why it
is/isn’t a parabola.

• Create

__infographics__
• Write student Mathematics blogs

"Collaboration in mathematics means that
students have opportunities to hear and consider the thinking of their peers as
they develop skills necessary for transferring their learning to other
mathematical areas."

**Prompts to spark math discussion/collaboration:**

◦
What does the problem say?
What does the problem mean? How would the answer be different if _______
in the problem were changed to _______?

◦
In what others ways could
this problem be solved?

◦
How does the approach for
solving an open-ended math problem differ from that of solving a closed
problem?

◦
What patterns do you see in
the three problems assigned to your group?

◦
How would you create a chart
or other visual to demonstrate your thinking about the problem?

◦
How would the
mathematical understanding needed to solve this problem be used in real-world
situations?

◦
How is this problem
different from or similar to others we’ve solved in class?

◦
Work with your group to
explain why…

◦
Show the rest of the class
what this concept looks like, perhaps through a graph, chart, or model.

◦
Convince another group that
your approach to this problem is best.

Last idea: Math teachers can encourage students
to read Math related texts by posting a sign like this on their classroom
door highlighting

**what you just read, what you’re currently reading, and what you want to read:**
but recommend Math related texts like: