1. Madelyn Colonnese
  3. University of Connecticut
  1. Tutita Casa
  2. http://education.uconn.edu/tutita-casa/
  3. Assistant Professor
  5. University of Connecticut
  1. Janine Firmender
  2. http://www.sju.edu/about-sju/faculty-staff/janine-firmender-phd
  3. Assistant Professor
  5. Saint Joseph's University

A Task Force on Conceptualizing Elementary Mathematical Writing: Implications...

NSF Awards: 1545908

2016 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6

Teachers have long been encouraged to incorporate communication as a crucial component of learning mathematics. Writing in mathematics can support students’ learning of content and can provide students with another way to communicate their mathematical thinking. However, descriptions about the types of and purposes for mathematical writing fall short for teachers to carry out adequate instruction. Specifically, for elementary students starting in kindergarten, what types of writing can be leveraged to facilitate their learning of mathematics?

To address the lack of clarity about the types of and purposes for elementary mathematical writing, the Elementary Mathematical Writing Task Force was convened in October 2015. Members of the task force represented the fields of mathematics education, mathematics, and writing education; had expertise across the elementary grades; were knowledgeable about particular student groups, including English language learners, students who have learning difficulties, and/or those students identified as gifted; and had experience teaching writing and authoring assessments and curricula that include mathematical writing to ensure the group’s recommendations would be informed by and attend to various stakeholder groups and student needs.

The Elementary Mathematical Writing Task Force identified two overarching goals for mathematical writing: for students to reason and to communicate. The four types of mathematical writing recommended by the task force are: exploratory, informative/explanatory, argumentative, and mathematically creative writing. Each type of mathematical writing has unique purposes. The overarching goals, types of, and purposes for mathematical writing have the potential to provide students with an authentic way to engage with mathematics.

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