Big Ideas in Literacy
Cultivating, Assessing, and Supporting Standards for Mathematical Practice and Disciplinary Literacy
Classrooms that reflect the Standards for Mathematical Practice and provide opportunities for student engagement in disciplinary literacy don’t just happen by themselves. In order to create such classrooms, teachers need to consider how to design mathematics lessons that engage students in the Standards for Mathematical Practice and provide students with opportunities to read, write, speak, and listen like mathematicians. This involves the following considerations:
- How rich are the mathematical tasks or activities that are the focus of the lesson? Do they create opportunities for mathematical thinking and reasoning?
- What kinds of collaborative small-group structures have been designed to support mathematical conversations?
- What kinds of opportunities are there for students to read and make sense of mathematical text, including graphs, tables, or diagrams as well as narrative text?
- What kinds of opportunities are there for students to write about their mathematical thinking, including reflections on the mathematics they are learning, posters that capture their small-group work, or their written solutions to mathematics problems?
- What is the role of the teacher while students are engaged in their mathematical work, either individually or in small groups? How does the teacher monitor and support student learning through these disciplinary literacy practices?
These considerations assume that all students have the capacity to successfully engage in authentic mathematical activity. The assumption grows out of the work of Carol Dweck (2006), who defines a “fixed” mindset as the belief that intelligence is “fixed” and that success is based on this innate ability, while a “growth” mindset is the belief that talent and ability are the result of effort and persistence. The implications of these constructs for mathematics teaching and learning have been further developed by Jo Boaler (2013) and others, who advocate for the use of a “growth” mindset to communicate the belief that all students have the capacity to be successful in mathematics.
In the following units, you will explore what it means to help students learn to read, write, speak, and listen like mathematicians and how you might design lessons that engage students in these disciplinary literacy practices. As you move through this material, you will watch and reflect on a number of videos that capture aspects of mathematics reading, writing, speaking, and listening in secondary classrooms. You will also periodically engage in activities, many of which you are invited to try with your students, in which you will reflect on reading, writing, speaking, and listening. You will also be provided with a range of resources designed to support your efforts to strengthen disciplinary literacy practices in your mathematics classroom.
Continue to Unit 6 – Reading in Mathematics