Using the strategies students learn in reading during math, they can become better mathematicians, so they won't have to "chuckle about not being good at math."
Each month, I will tackle a different topic that will help you make stronger connections between your math and literacy instruction, which will in turn help your students become more confident readers and mathematicians.
As a preview of what is to come, we will kick things off by talking about how to use a common literacy strategy in math: word splash.
Word splash is a comprehension and vocabulary strategy where words and short phrases about a concept are "splashed" on the whiteboard, Smart Board, windows, or a large piece of paper. Students create statements that connect at least two words/phrases as predictions about the concept(s) they are about to study.
What I love about using a word splash is it connects the beginning of the lesson to the end of the lesson. Students make predictions. You teach them about the concept (in this example - introduction to fractions). Finally students come back to their predictions and determine which were correct and which were misconceptions. To turn it into a summarizing activity, you can add some additional words learned through the lesson (examples: numerator, denominator, thirds, halves) and have students create summary statements (or paragraphs) that connect as many words as possible in a meaningful way.
Word splash is an easy way to facilitate a discussion with students and providing them scaffolds to use the correct terminology. Word splash is also a great way to give a pre-assessment and post-assessment without giving a "test."
Want to take it to the next level? Have students create their own word splashes. OR get the students moving. Write each word on an index card (or name tag) and give one to each student (or place in random parts of the room). Give students the opportunity to mingle and talk to each other about what they know about the words for five minutes. Then have students go back to their seats to write connecting statements individually.
What are the connections to literacy? So, so many: making predictions, making connections, vocabulary, writing statements that require students to think about similarities and differences, summarizing.