I think like most teachers, I read a lot. When I say I read a lot, I mean a freakin’ lot, and I save articles that I think will have an impact on my teaching either now or later. This means I have an folder with a couple of hundred research reports and articles. Over the weekend the question was posted on Twitter whether or not anyone has anything to share on vocabulary in math class.
I has some articles and emailed them to the couple of people who requested, but it made me think that a terrific #Made4Math series would be to post some of the articles. It will be doubly good because it will force me to re-read the articles.
So today, I start with vocabulary in mathematics.
by Kathryn Sullivan
This article is short, and it gives a good introduction to many of the “little” words that we use in math class often that really does create problems for many learners. What surprised me was that it wasn’t words like add, subtract, etc. It is words like “the,” “each,” “how,” etc.
by Suzanne Irujo
This article is short (6 pages) and breaks down the different parts of English that are used in math class. It definitely makes you think about the difference between Academic and Informal uses of language. In math, it is almost entirely Academic use, which causes problems for the learner (especially the ELL learner.)
by Dr. Madeline Kovarik
This 20 page research paper gives some great insights into how important the use of and development of vocabulary is in the math classroom, and then it gives some curriculum insights into how to achieve good vocabulary learning. I need to study this paper some more, because I have only recently found this paper, but on first reading it seems a valuable addition.
is by the AISD Elementary Mathematics Department.
It is an elementary level research paper, but that is okay because it has some great insights into learning vocab and bridging the Academic vs non-academic language usage. It included black line masters, ideas for helping ELL and below level learners. It is completely of use to the secondary level teacher as well.
In addition, I found a book online and downloaded it. It is a good book on the issue, but there is no way I will post the pdf file. It is still copyrighted and would be a HUGE violation.
The book is “Teaching and Learning Vocabulary: Bringing Research to Practice” by Elfrieda H. Hiebert and Michael L. Kamil. I have found some great ideas in the book, but it is a little long and very dense reading. Here is a short review of the book to see if it is something you would like to purchase.
I hope this helps someone.