Building Mathematical Comprehension, Chapters 1 & 2

Last summer I couldn't wait to finish Guided Math by Laney Sammons.  I read the book, came up with a rotation schedule that would work with my teaching, and dove in feet first.  After a few months of teaching, my grade level knew something just wasn't working.  We ended up trying something a little different that worked for this particular group of students.  We are hoping to try it again next year, but Guided Math will certainly come in handy the first few months of school as we get started again.

When I heard that Brenda (Primary Inspired) and Beth (Thinking of Teaching) were going to host another math book study, I didn't hesitate to join in.  This summer we are reading Building Mathematical Comprehension: Using Literacy Strategies to Make Meaning by Laney Sammons (yes, the very same author of Guided Math).
Chapter 1: Comprehension Strategies for Mathematics
As with most teacher resource books, the first chapter introduces the big ideas, but doesn't give away a lot of details (yet).  This chapter illustrates the similarities between characteristics of good readers and those of good mathematicians (prior knowledge, fluency, multiple strategies, etc.).  Then the author introduces the seven comprehension strategies that most of us are familiar with:
1. Making Connections
2. Asking Questions
3. Visualizing
4. Making Inferences
5. Determining Importance
6. Synthesizing
7. Monitoring Meaning
It is important to note that there will be a chapter that delves deeper into each of these strategies later in the book.  Laney Sammons also goes on to discuss the importance of explicit instruction.  She breaks it down into 6 steps:
1. Teacher explains what the strategy is.
2. Teacher explains why the strategy is important.
3. Teacher explains when to use the strategy.
4. Teacher models how to perform the strategy in an actual context while students observe.
5. Teacher guides students as they practice using the strategy.
6. Students independently use the strategy.
I think steps 4-6 are in practice in many classrooms (I do, we do, you do), but I don't think teachers (myself included) are always as explicit with the first three steps.

Chapter 2: Recognizing and Understanding Mathematical Vocabulary
Last summer when I was reading Guided Math, I knew that two of my weakest areas of math instruction were utilizing literature and being more explicit with my vocabulary instruction, particularly for my students who speak more than one language at home. 
The book references how Marzano and Pickering use a six-step process for teaching new words:
1. Provide a description, explanation, or example of the new term (in kid-friendly terms).
2. Ask students to restate the description, explanation, or example in their own words.
3. Ask students to construct a picture, symbol, or graphic representing the term or phrase.
4. Engage students periodically in activities that help them add to their knowledge of the terms in vocabulary notebooks.
5. Periodically ask students to discuss the terms with one another.
6. Involve students in games that allow them to play with terms.
Like most teachers I know, I am enjoying my summer but find my mind wandering back into the classroom from time to time.  I evaluate my year, what I want to continue and what I want to change or add for the next school year.  One thing I have been toying with is creating two word walls: one for grade level words and the other for math vocabulary.  Here are two things that have caught my eye:

source: Ginger Snaps

Does anyone have either of these sets?  If so, what are the pros/cons you have found with them (if any)?  What other resources are out there for Common Core vocabulary for 2nd graders?

Coming Soon:
Chapter 3 - Making Mathematical Connections 

1 comment:

Beth said...

I was just like you! I dove into math workshop, had all sorts of supplies, a rotation board and it just sort of fell away. I am hoping to have another go at it in the future.
Thanks for linking up and I am definitely going to go and check out those word wall cards.
Thinking of Teaching

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