Saturday, June 15, 2013

Building Mathematical Comprehension Chapter 2

    This chapter about vocabulary was another "Why didn't I realize that?!" for me. I liked how Sammons begins by discussing how language and learning are intricately linked. Then moves into the importance of explicitly teaching  content vocabulary. She talks about making sure you're teaching the key vocabulary from your grade level math standards and finding ways to involve parents with math vocabulary practice at home. Sammons also gave examples of graphic organizers and games that help students learn and practice key math vocabulary.

     I liked how Sammons said that math vocabulary is not an add on to the math lesson, but should be a way to teach the math content. I'm also going to go back to my TEKS to create a list of the key vocabulary I should make sure my student's understand. I plan on adding vocabulary assessment to my weekly quizzes and unit exams as a means of accountability for myself and my students. Students need to be able to understand and use correctly math vocabulary to fully comprehend and master math content. 

     I did use thinking maps and graphic organizers some in math last year, but not near as much as I did when I taught kindergarten. This is a tool we will definitely use more of this year. A big thing for me will be modeling the graphic organizers for my students, so they can begin to utilize them on their own. I also want to add in some reflective writing time in their journals (with the emphasis that use the content vocabulary in their writing) at the end of class. I will start the year modeling this for the students in a class journal. Then we'll move into shared/interactive writing before this becomes an independent activity. Then I will use that time to have mini conferences or reteach a small group. Here's an example of a chart I made when teaching length in kindergarten. Texas standards have students making direct comparisons using the words longer/shorter/same as.

     I want to utilize a math word wall as well next year. I will not have the ability to keep all the words up all year. I think we'll keep the current concept words up and then move them to a ring that they can pull and look at when they need to. I will also use the be a mind reader and other word wall games to review these math vocabulary terms. I also will add the math vocabulary words to my assignment sheets with parent suggestions for discussion or activities to use to practice these words at home. 

     Make sure to link up and share your thoughts as well!


  1. I felt the same way! "Why didn't I think of that?" One quote that really stuck out for me was that math vocabulary is similar to foreign language. Wow! That tells me I really need to focus more on that math vocab instruction! I've never thought of it that way before!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this chapter!

    Primary Inspired

  2. Great post. I agree that I also had a "Oh man...why didn't I think of this before?" moment. I have tried in the past to focus on math vocabulary but not as well as I should have. Thanks for mentioning the games to go along with the word walls as well. That's a great reminder.
    Thinking of Teaching



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