Circle Geometry Linked Lessons
Reading Strategies for Math Classes
I chose to use a variety of reading strategies in my linked lessons. Lots of students get frustrated and overwhelmed when they are going through math because information is presented in so many different ways (such as words, symbols, diagrams, tables, or graphs). In my lessons I used strategies to help improve my students' problem solving skills to help them become more familiar with mathematical terminology. The strategies I used are from our textbook:
- Integrate writing: Journal writing
- Integrate writing: Work in groups
- Integrate writing: Create your own questions
- Adapt Cloze reading tasks
- Concept Maps
- Math Vocabulary Categorization (Farnan, Flood, & Lapp, 2008, pp. 257-267)
Integrate writing: Journal writing
Students are asked to write in their math journals daily with different activities. This gets students more comfortable with math questions, and may help them "develop positive attitudes toward math problem solving" (Farnan, Flood, & Lapp, 2008, p. 258). These journals are entirely for the student and are not for marks. The teacher may collect them periodically to see where student understandings are at for a particular concept, and adjust instruction accordingly.
Integrate Writing: Work in groups
Students are asked to work with a partner to investigate the Simpsons YouTube clip in Lesson One. This is beneficial because students are able to discuss, compare, and contrast various ideas they have about it. Using Polya's 4 step approach to problem solving (Farnan, Flood, & Lapp, 2008, p. 259) by working in a group students can work together by first understanding the problem, then devising a plan for solving the problem, then carrying out the plan, and finally looking back to ensure the solution is correct. When students work together, they are able to bounce ideas off of each other. Students can also get more comfortable with recording information and then presenting it orally to classmates.
Integrate Writing: Create your own questions
I had students create their own questions (Farnan, Flood, & Lapp, 2008, p. 263) in Lesson Four. This will hopefully get students more comfortable with mathematical terminology and get them thinking about the concepts in a different way. This strategy also allows students to analyze questions made by peers, answer them, and offer suggestions to make them better.
Adapt Cloze reading tasks
According to the textbook, a "reader who understands the structure and content of written text should be able to fill in missing words correctly" (Farnan, Flood, & Lapp, 2008, p. 263-264). I chose to delete every 5th word of the notes from the previous day simply to get students thinking about terminology. I also provided a word list for students to choose from so it wouldn't be difficult. This is purely a formative assessment for students and teachers to see where problematic or confusing concepts are.
Concept maps are designed to help students make connections and analyze relationships between a certain concept (Farnan, Flood, & Lapp, 2008, p. 265). Students were asked to make a map about circles before and after the unit. The first map was used to get students thinking about the topic, and allowed them to engage in the topic in multiple ways (they could draw or write whatever came to mind for their map). The second map was for students to put everything they learned together and see if they could make connections between concepts.
Math Vocabulary Categorization
According to the textbook, there are three types of math vocabulary. The first is general vocabulary, which includes "words and symbols used in ordinary, informal, and formal conversations" (Farnan, Flood, & Lapp, 2008, p. 260). The second is technical vocabulary, which includes "words and symbols specific to the study of mathematics" (Farnan, Flood, & Lapp, 2008, p. 260). The third is special vocabulary, possibly the most important category, as students may become the most frustrated with this kind of vocabulary. Special vocabulary includes "words [that] have one meaning in every day conversation and another meaning in math" (Farnan, Flood, & Lapp, 2008, p. 260). A fourth type of vocabulary that is not necessarily math vocabulary is the connective vocabulary, which is used to connect ideas.
By telling students what each category is and by asking them to categorize their notes accordingly, students can focus on words that they are struggling with and pay less attention to those they are familiar with.