Writing in Mathematics
What Are the Writing Demands of Mathematics Classrooms?
In mathematics classrooms, there are many times when students are called upon to write, especially if we consider writing to include mathematical expressions or equations; representations such as tables, graphs, or other images; and narrative text.
Take a few minutes to look at the curriculum materials you are currently using, the additional resources you draw on, and any assessments you are using with your students. Find examples of where students are expected to write, such as the following:
- Problems that students are expected to solve with an expectation that they “show their work”
- Explanations that students are expected to provide about their thinking
- Justifications that students are expected to offer regarding their solutions and their solution strategies
- Proofs that students are expected to construct using a format or template that you have provided
- Posters or other group projects through which students are expected to present their solutions and explain their thinking
Also consider the extent to which you have communicated your expectations regarding student note taking during class or the extent to which you engage students in reflecting on what they are learning and what questions they have about that content.
Reflect: What literacy demands are associated with writing in your mathematics classroom? When, how often, and for what purpose are students expected to write?