Monday, February 29, 2016

Is Writing in Math Really the Solution?

As of late, I have really had a hard time convincing the students and myself of the importance of writing in math.  Through all of my schooling and now the PLCs, I have come to realize something about myself...  I HATE to write.  There is no joy for me when I am asked to write.  I don't write lists. I don't write lengthy letters.  My texts are very short If you have ever received an email from me you know that I just get to the point.  I agonize going to the PLCs that I know will involve me writing a little piece in my writer's journal.

I have spent a lot of time this month thinking about the students that are like me.  I love word problems.  I love when the word problems are rigorous and force me to think about how to solve them.  I love using math to solve word problems.  The answers don't always "pop in my head" like the fortunate students I mentioned in my last blog.  But I can relate to those learners because I would rather say that I just know the answer than have to sit and write a bunch of sentences about how I got my answer.  My struggle this month is the writing component to math.  Do we take the fun out of math when we force students to write about their thinking and have them free write during math time?  In their high school Algebra class will they have to write major pieces about the process they went through or will they just have to show what x equals?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Tracy, I agree! I wonder about those students who thrive in math because they don't have to write, but now we are asking them to write! Are we really creating better mathematicians because they can write about the steps they took to solve a problem or justify why their answer is right or wrong?

  3. I think sometimes we get stuck on writing about math. How does one write about math? I guess writing about which algorithm is preferable could be writing about math. But I agree, the way we perceive writing about math is difficult to digest. I wonder if the writing we've done over the past few weeks to incorporate the graphs we made of the survey data would count as writing about math. The graphs are used as evidence to support keeping or changing the six-person-to-a-table lunchroom rule. Math is a tough topic to write about.