“So you’re saying I have to write about math?” This was the exact response from one of my former students. That statement alone informed me that he only thought about math superficially.
As for me, I was sick and tired of teaching kids how to manipulate numbers, only for them to forget about it the following week. I wanted to understand better what concepts stuck and what misconceptions they had.
Check out this blog post if you’re curious about how I integrated writing into my math block.
I decided to give them opportunities to write about math during our centers. Since we write about everything else, why not write about math? I was blown away by their responses. I learned about their misconceptions, frustrations, and where they lacked confidence.
I’ve been incorporating math writing into my curriculum for years, and I’ve seen so many benefits. Many have surprised me. While there are more than three benefits, these have been the most surprising (and helpful).
1. It allows introverts to share their thoughts.
No matter how hard you try, some students won’t share their thoughts because they prefer to stay quiet and work alone. It feels like pulling teeth to check their understanding, and it’s unfair to assess them with a grade constantly.
Regardless, it’s still your job to check their understanding, so allowing them to write about their thinking will empower them to share without risking their grade or forcing them to speak with the fear that someone else may hear them.
Give your students’ opinion pieces to write about so that you can better understand and support their math woes. These writing pieces uncover a lot about their interests and self-perception. Reassure them it’s not a grade and it’s something that only your eyes will see.
2. It supports math discourse.
Research shows that when students talk about math, they can internalize it. When students write about their thinking in math, they can share their thoughts more clearly with their peers because they’re using working memory.
When students think about their key points in math, they must evaluate the process, reason, and test their thinking. When you focus on one topic, you break the lesson into one manageable piece.
Provide writing prompts with crucial information. This helps students focus on the most important part of the math standard.
3. Writing prepares students for college
This one may sound like a stretch, but hear me out for a moment. 90% of college essays are informational/expository essays. The most writing, in my opinion, we should be doing is informational/expository writing.
With more opportunities to write in math, students become more comfortable writing how-to’s, reflective journals, and argumentative pieces.
Need some resources for teaching math writing? Click here for a Place Value Writing! Now you can get your students writing about math with these easy-to-use, low-prep resources.
What are some other benefits you’ve seen for writing about math?