Implementing writing into the math class was a challenge that I was well aware of, especially being a middle school math teacher. However, even with Common Core in place the importance for students explaining and justifying their answers are expectations. As noted at the start of my ImagineIT project, my school performed poorly in the math last year so we are focusing on strategies to help move students. One thing I noticed in all math classrooms I visited, including mine was that students struggled with explaining their thinking on how they got to an answer. Those observations really allowed me to see the importance of giving students the opportunity to reflect and write about the math they are learning.

After conferring with colleagues and students I tried the approach of having students to reflect on a math concept. For example, prior to beginning a unit on scientific notation with my 8th graders and unit rate with my 7th graders, I had them to write everything they knew about the concepts. Majority of the responses from the students were “I don’t know”. So after working on both concepts for bout 2 weeks, I presented that same prompt to the students and received great responses. To showcase their writing I created a bulletin board for display.

From when I first attempted incorporating writing in math as a daily exercise it was not effective. Students were turning in incomplete responses, and responses that did not make any sense. The task that finding time within the math block is still a big struggle. However the students did like the way the writing prompt was given, once before concept introduced, and then once the concept was taught. One student stated. “When I wrote about scientific notation after you taught it, it forced me to remember key things about it. Also, I had more to write once I learned it” Confidence, as the young man had when reflecting on the concept is what I want all my students to have.

Thus far, the implementation of writing in math class is slowly making its way into my class. Now pushing to see it occur more often by other grades.

Moving forward, as I move towards round 2 of the implementation of my ImagineIT project I plan to be more strategic with the writing in my math class. For example, after teaching concepts I will have the students to write about some of the key terms or concepts learned that day. Another way will be having students write out an error made by one of their peers in solving a problem and mathematically what correction needs to be made. Writing does not have to be done every single day to be effective. However, the time the students are askd to write us educators, must make it meaningful and purposeful.