Vocabulary is defined as a “sum or stock of words employed by a language, group, individual, or work or in a field of knowledge” (p. 45). I enjoyed Sammons’ point that when it comes to content area vocabulary, we should consider all of our students to be mathematics language learners (MLLs?). She also validated what I have always known as a teacher of ELLs: “the vocabulary deficits of students have an enormous impact on their mathematics achievement” (p. 48). Finally, a reason committed to print as to why ELLs seem to struggle so greatly in math!
This chapter presents several ways to engage students in learning mathematical vocabulary, including:
· Encouraging Parental Involvement
· Mathematical Discourse (creating a classroom environment full of math talk)
· Mathematical Writing to Reinforce Vocabulary Knowledge
· Mathematics Word Walls
· Graphic Organizers
· Games and Other Learning Activities
I really liked the ideas presented in this chapter about mathematical writing, of course utilizing the appropriate math vocabulary. Students can be asked to:
- describe their knowledge of a particular math concept
- list the steps in a problem-solving process
- explain the strategy used to solve a problem
- justify their mathematical reasoning
- reflect on their learning
- take notes
- define mathematical terms or symbols
The last idea seems like a great way to practice math vocabulary without dedicating an entire journal to it. It can be stored in an interactive math journal that contains ample examples of student problem-solving as well as important math notes and examples.
As far as graphic organizers go, I use them across content areas, but after reading this chapter, I’m going to try to incorporate them more often in math (the subject where I currently use them least often). I think this would be a great tool to help students understand math vocabulary and how math concepts are related.
This chapter also exposed me to some new, low-prep games. Have you heard of Make My Day? It’s a lot like I Have, Who Has, but the cards are not linked to each other. The teacher facilitates asking for matches of certain cards. I liked the idea of using this as a way to practice math facts. Also, Talk A Mile A Minute was a game that sounds a lot like Catchphrase. If only we could all get Jimmy Fallon to come to our classrooms and play a game with us, right?!
I’ll be back soon to join the discussion on Chapter 3: Making Mathematical Connections. And now, since I have Jimmy Fallon and Catchphrase on the brain, I’ll leave you with a fun video clip. Enjoy your week!