Writing in Math
Over the past few years I have found that many of my students were using the thinking strategies, but were unable to name them. This year at the beginning of the year I found that my students could name ‘schema’ and ‘determining importance’, but struggled with the actual application of them. They could activate their background knowledge, but when it came to determining importance, they thought everything was important! My focus this year has been ‘What second grade math writing look like?’ and ‘How can math writing support deeper understanding?’
We jumped right into the thinking strategies through word problems. We began with determining importance and they really started to narrow down they keywords. I put in place limits for highlighting (4-6 word max) and then they really had to start thinking about which parts were more important than others. We then moved onto mental images. This led into us really focusing on the difference between a math strategy and a thinking strategy. This is still a work in progress, but they are starting to see the differences the more they work with them. Our math writing so far this year has really focused on mental images. It took some adjustment in my mindset to see that writing is not just sentences-especially in younger learners. We celebrate when they show us their thinking through pictures, numbers, words-any type of writing. In the past week we shifted our learning to growth mindset, how we as second graders tackle tough problems.
My challenge for the next month is to move into monitoring for meaning. I talked with Michelle about ways in which to present it to students and what has worked in the past. Although I am familiar with this, I find that each year, each class is so different that you just have to see what works! I really want to narrow down an anchor chart for this thinking strategy so I think I’ll show the kids (after our lessons) what I have done in the past and see what they help me come up with. I want to present it in a way that makes sense for them and that will be useful and memorable. We also just got our Chromebooks so my challenge is integrating technology back into my classroom. This year we have had to check out the PC lab when possible and work around that, now I feel like we have a lot more options so our workshop time is going to be changing quite a bit over the next few weeks.