Writing? But This is Math Class!

In a series of 5 meetings held at UCLA this spring, teachers from across the region came together to work on using writing to deepen their students’ understanding of math and engage them in the Common Core Math Practices.  It was a diverse and lively group, teaching 4th grade through high school calculus.

MDTP sponsored the event which allowed us to offer the series free of charge.  With additional help from the UCLA math department and supportive principals, we were able to cover almost all the parking charges as well.  Hooray!

Writing in math class supports students in making sense of mathematics and communicating their understanding.  Writing supports differentiation and full participation and provides the teacher with evidence of understanding.

Our guest speakers Fawn Nguyen, Kristy Smith, and Kelli Wasserman were inspiring.  With them, we explored the power of patterns, open-ended prompts, multiple representations, number sense, problem solving, collaborative learning, free internet and MDTP resources, and much more.  Teachers planned and implemented workshop ideas in their classrooms and brought back student work to subsequent sessions to share and analyze. We worked on strategies to provide effective feedback that moves learning forward.

With the collaboration of thoughtful teachers working together over time, our mathematical and pedagogical creativity developed.  Oh yes, math teachers are fun and interesting!  And, the most astonishing thing about these workshops was to witness the mathematical creativity of students emerge when given simple, open-ended prompts.

We are planning our next workshop series for Fall 2015.  I hope to post more details within the next week or two.

Quotes from the last workshop…

“This was a great workshop! I learned so much and was able to collaborate with other professionals in my field.”

“Can we have more of these?”

“Really enjoyed the hands-on activities and problem solving.”

“Very helpful to know how to show “thinking” and different representations. Talk over with professionals that care.”

“I am very pleased with this entire workshop. The amount of activities, strategies, and practices shared have been useful throughout my school year. “

“Discussing multiple ways on how to provide feedback and grade have made the incorporation of various strategies much easier. Positive feedback is the key to success!”

“Time went by too quickly”

“Thank you so much!!  You have helped me to be excited again about teaching and I appreciate that so much 🙂 “

Writing In Math Class *  Full Participation * Differentiation * Cooperative Learning * Classroom Discourse * Number Sense and Estimation * Compare and Contrast * Powerful Math Routines * Problem Solving * Problem Posing * Connections * Multiple Representations * Tied to classroom instruction and student learning *



Published by mdtpucla

MDTP is a statewide collaboration of the CSU and UC systems and the California Academic Partnership Program intended to support and advance secondary math instruction. MDTP develops, distributes, scores, and reports the results of multiple choice tests that measure student readiness for mathematics courses ranging from Math 6 to Calculus. MDTP at UCLA offers full support for MDTP materials and services at no charge to secondary schools in LA and Ventura Counties.

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