Words Matter in Math

Making Math Count in WHPS

Here are some activities to help your students develop math academic vocabulary while still having fun.

  • Word Wall Have a special wall designated in the classroom with current vocabulary words displayed. See your Unit Plans for vocabulary words and links to vocabulary cards.
  • Check it Off To encourage students to use the vocabulary in class discussions, have a short list of vocabulary posted on the board. Every time you hear a math word used by students, check it off. Quickly students become focused on the academic language used in math.
  • Frayer Model The Frayer model helps students think more deeply about vocabulary words. Click the link at the bottom of the page for a google doc Frayer Model.
  • Concept Map Students can create a concept map to show understanding of a word. See the example below.
  • Highlight It As students write explanations in math journals, have them highlight vocabulary words.
  • Edit It Students review a math journal entry and edit the entry to include vocabulary from the word wall.
  • Pictionary Students draw a representation and others guess the word
  • Laser Show You give a definition and students find the vocabulary word on the wall. They you choose a student to use the laser pointer to show the class the correct word.
  • I AM Students take turns saying, "I am..." and fill in the blank with a definition of the word. The person who identifies the word correctly takes the next turn. Letting students choose a word from the word wall allows everyone to participate at his or her level.
  • Slap This is a fun activity for a small group. Spread out vocabulary word cards on the table. The teacher tells a definition. The first student to slap the correct word, gets to keep the card.
  • Word Wall Memory This is an engaging game that boosts memory and vocabulary. Player 1 points to a word, reads the word, and paraphrases a definition of the word. Player 2 reads player 1's word and chooses his or her own word to read and paraphrase the meaning. Each player must read all of the words in order before selecting his or her own word to read and define. The goal is to read all words without forgetting the order.