*Identify desired results:*The big idea of my project is writing in the math class, and how it can help assist students in making sense of mathematics. Currently, math is looked upon as a set of rules and procedures to memorize and then be tested. I want teachers and students to grasp the understanding that math is more than getting the right answer. With major shifts in math with Common Core and TRU Mathematics, they both call on students to do what is not normally taught in math classes: make conjectures, explain their mathematical ideas, justify their answers, make critiques on their peers’ work, make sense of the math that they are doing, and build on one another’s ideas. “We need to create situations where students can be active, creative, and responsive to the physical world. I believe that to learn mathematics, students must construct it for themselves.”

(Countryman pg. 2)

To know mathematics is to do mathematics. It’s no longer enough to just say ‘what’ the answer is, students must now be able to explain ‘why’ it’s the answer. The standards for mathematics use terms such as reflect, clarify, justify, and demonstrate to describe the expectations of what students should be able to do. With clear expectations of understanding and communication embedded in the standards, it seems logical to incorporate writing in math.

So often in classrooms when students are asked how did they get their answer, or why is it correct, they often respond “I can do it, but I can’t explain it.” (Countryman pg.2) By implementing writing into the math class, this will assist students in being able to explain their thinking and demonstrate their knowledge of the math being taught. ‘Writing mathematics can free students of the assumption that math is just a collection of right answers to questions posed by someone else.”(Countryman pg. 11) Writing will help to broaden the perspective of math that many people have, that it is all about numbers and operations. The key is effective and consistent implementation of writing.

*Determine acceptable evidence (performances of understanding):*“What types of writing can happen in math? How often should I check them? How do I evaluate it? How do I give feedback?” These are all common questions that are asked by teachers concerning the implementation of writing in their math class. The types writing that will be rolled out at Bass are: journaling, solving mathematical problems/strategies, explaining mathematical ideas, and creative writing.

*Evaluation of writing:*The writing done in math should not be graded, however used as an assessment. The assignments are intended to show what the students are learning and how they learn. It’s also not intended to be about ‘how’ they write but ‘what they write.

*Giving Feedback:*When reviewing students writing, feedback will be more than ‘Good work’ or ‘Excellent’. It will instead consist of giving students a ‘push and a praise’. For example, a teacher may put on a writing assignment, “great job with giving the right answer, but add some more details so that I can better understand your idea”. Students will receive feedback that is encouraging, substantive, honest, and specific. If their mathematical thinking is unique or interesting, or lacking and confusing, the feedback will inform students if that and explain why. To ensure that students take writing in math serious, some assignments may have to be revised by the student for completeness. The Performance of Understandings will be the type of writing.

The following types of writing will be used as a formative assessment:

**Journals and learning logs-**this will assist students in keeping records of what they are doing and learning in class. Prompts for journals will be given daily at the beginning of the school year. I will have a Google doc with a bank of prompts for teachers to be able to access. To get students accustomed to writing sentence stem such as: Today I..., I learned..., I'm not sure about..., I'm wondering about... will be hanging on chart paper in each class. Journals/learning logs are to be checked weekly and given feedback weekly.**Problem solving strategies**- there will be school-wide problem of the week (MARS task) students will be given problems where they will be asked to solve and explain their reasoning. Students will complete this once a week. I will pose a question and the students must answer it and explain why their answer is logical. These problem-solving strategies are to be checked weekly and given feedback weekly.

**Explaining mathematical ideas**- students will have the opportunity, before each unit, to write all they know or learned about a specific idea in math such as division, inverse operation, percent, etc. This type of writing will be done when different topics of math are introduced. This type of writing should be reviewed at the beginning, in the middle, and end of the unit. Feedback should be given at the beginning and end of the unit.**Creative writing**- Students can write stories or poems relating to what they are currently studying in math. This type of writing will be given monthly. The products produced with this will be displayed in the classroom or on the bulletin board in the hallway for display.

*I am a Math Coach at Perkins Bass Elementary. As a Math Coach I am responsible for the following:*

**Plan learning experience and instruction:**

- Create the first 20 days of math
- Inform teachers how math blocks look
- Inform teachers of our vision for math
- Ensure that the network mandates are being implemented throughout the school
- Monitor the math instruction in the building
- Co-teach and model activities and lessons with teachers
- Conduct data meetings around the math in the building
- Monitor interventions and math workshop model throughout the school
- Deliver Professional Developments around math instruction

In the 2015-2016 school year Bass moved from a Level 3 school to a Level 2+ school. However, our students continue to be behind academically. As we prepare for the upcoming school year we are ensuring that everything that is done is intentional. Last year our math data did not look good. The data shows that students still struggles with basic facts, problem solving, and foundational understanding of math. The standard deviation of each classroom is well above 15, which means that every student needs individualized assistance. Depending on computerized multiple choice questions will not help teachers know where their students truly are academically. Authentic student work and strategies from their journals will. The grade levels that are suffering the most are our incoming middle school (grades 5-8). That group of students will be the group to pilot the writing in math class initiative.

The struggle at my school is getting students to understand the math they are doing, and with the research that I have undergone, implementing writing in the math class is a start to try and help this problem.

**Content:**

In Math, I want students to truly understand the mathematics that they are doing, and be able to communicate their knowledge verbally and in written form. Currently the students at Bass have a difficulty explaining how they came up with an answer, they struggle with finding strategies to help assist them with problems, and they struggle with number sense.

**Pedagogy:**

An interdisciplinary and assessment/evaluation of student learning are the approaches that will work best for my content and goals.

The students at Bass grasp a better understanding of topics when it is introduced to them in different disciplines. For example, if students learn about variables in Science, when variables are introduced in math they tend to catch on quicker because they have been exposed to it. Currently, Bass has implemented a portion during our math class called “math workshop’. The math workshop is parallel to the reading workshop. The students enter into the classroom, complete their Do Now, participate in a math talk, introduced to a standard-based lesson, and then work in groups on the topic introduced and pulled for small group instruction by the teacher. One piece of the workshop that has not been included is allowing the students to reflect on the lesson of the day. It is imperative that students are allowed time to take in and discuss their new leanings. That is why it’s critical for the middle school math teachers to hit the ground running with students writing in math.

Writing should not be looked upon as an added task for the teacher or student in math. Rather the types of writing that will be incorporated in math should be a reasonable extension of what they are doing in class, and by mid year an integral part of their math learning. Providing the teachers with sentence stems to help guide the students in their writing, samples of each type of writing that the students will be doing, conducting daily observations, monitoring that the push and praise feedback is occurring weekly, modeling in classes on how to use students writing to help offer suggestions to other students on how to write, and meet with teachers to assist them with planning using the information provided by the students on what and how they are learning, will ensue that teachers are being consist with the implementation of writing and is using their writing to assist in their planning and teaching.

**Technology**

The technology that will be used with in this project is journals. This technology works best for the project because the types of writing that the students will be completing a journal is the best tool for them to be able to see their progression through math topics, and a great tool to review and study topics. These journals will force students to go beyond ‘I know the answer, its 7” to “ the reason why 7 is the best solution…” They will help students to communicate with their teacher what areas they are still struggling with confidentially, completing group activity writing assignments will help students learn from each other and offer suggestions to each other, compile a list of strategies that can assist them in solving problems, publicly display their knowledge, and communicate their knowledge of the mathematics they are learning in their own words. These journals give ALL students a voice in the class.