## Reading in Math Class?

June 1, 2013 at 7:07 am | Posted in Content Area Literacy | 1 Comment(Melissa Morale)

How many times as math teachers have we asked ourselves, “How can I make involve the important skills of literacy in my class and how important is it?” It is already very difficult to teach students who do not like math, do not wish to do homework, and are already having trouble with numbers, let alone adding words to them! Honestly, not every student likes math and not every student likes to read, but we as teachers, we need to make sure we are emphasizing the importance of it. Atif Kukaswadia mentions in his blog that mathematical literacy is a necessity skill for the 21^{st} century. It is through literacy that students will be able to see how math plays a role in the world with new technology.

*“**Given that the world is moving towards a knowledge based economy, the lack of mathematical literacy is a big concern. Now more than ever the ability to critically evaluate information presented to us to draw our own conclusions, rather than have someone tell us what they mean, is of the utmost importance.”*

As mentioned in class, there are many new technologies such as tablets, notebooks, and phones that pull our students away from the basics of reading and doing math homework. So how can we make mathematical literacy enjoying and engaging to our students? A plus of the new technology is the Pinterest. It is a site where people all over can come together and share their ideas that they use either in their homes or in their classrooms. Searching for “math literacy” over fifty ideas will pop up. Also as mentioned in class, what happens when we have book that we think has nothing to do with math, such as a book about baseball? We need to put on our thinking caps, and be very creative because we need open minds and need to be aware of our student’s interest. The more we seem engaged by them, the more likely they will enjoy learning what we give them. We can get ideas from almost everywhere which makes it easier for us, but we just have to do a little more homework to get it done for our students.

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While there will always be students who refuse to connect mathematics to their daily lives, many students want to learn what relevancies there are in math. It is the responsibility of the teacher, through topics and activities, to engage the students and offer new mathematical perspectives. A crucial component to these new perspectives is the inclusion of literacy. Through what mediums can literacy be integrated into a mathematics curriculum?

In response to your question, one common method aimed towards increasing important literacy experiences involves the use of technology. Technology is widely diverse and its applications have the potential for bolstering student understanding. In a blog post focused primarily on the use of technology in schools, Matt Levinson discusses some of the major principles of technology usage. These include the potential for differentiated learning among students, personalization and creativity between projects, proper organization and research methods, and many more standards for student interactions with technology. Allowing the students to explore the available technology opens their minds to more literacy experiences. The benefit of using technology as a tool for promoting individuality is also a large confidence booster for students who feel pressured by their peers. Keeping these principles in mind ensures that students will benefit in many ways from the integration of technology and literacy.

In regards to mathematics, what different forms of technology are available to the students? Although there are virtually many different ways to use technology such that students experience literacy, William Brozo identifies several key programs that can supplement student learning in a geometry course (his book is titled Adolescent Literacy Inventory, Grades 6-12 and a sample chapter can be found heree). For example, reading strategies can be applied to activities such as classroom blogging, concept mapping using appropriate software, word processing through Microsoft Word, or even data structuring through Microsoft Excel. These programs can be widely applied to many mathematical topics and students will benefit from experiencing literacy through technologies that are already second nature to them.

As Melissa explains, it is up to the teacher to be creative and present the material in ways that spark student interest and engagement. Through technology, this goal is more attainable and will lead to increased understanding. The most important aspect of technology is that students in the content area courses will experience literacy in ways they are familiar with. Technology is thus a perfect tool for engaging students with literacy activities in content courses.

Comment by Justin Ingerick— June 13, 2013 #