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Kevin D. Gilbert EDUC 242 Spring 2013 Graduate Assignment

Drake University

* When assigned this project I was at a loss.

A reflection implies certain things, vision, light, an object, and an image of that object. Its not the object itself but it is close enough to bring the object, itself, to mind. impression of what Ive learned from this class instead of the content knowledge itself.

* Thus, my reflection is going to reveal my * But, first, lets start with a paradox.

* At first glance, the two words below seemed about

as different as is possible. Thats how I saw them as I began this class. I could see how literacy can relate to Language Arts, Social Studies, Drama, Speech, even History. But Math? * Math texts are notorious for being poorly written. So how can I relate this literacy class to the content area that I will most likely be working in, Math. I approached the proposition with low expectations of success. * The secret seemed to be in the approach.

* I quickly learned that the problem was not in

the proposition itself. It was in the way I perceived the proposition, my vision. of the math text themselves, the object, instead of the connection that literacy provides. to EVERY subject.

* I was thinking of Math Literacy as the literacy

* I did not understand the importance of literacy

* Literacy is important because, for a culture and

society to proceed and continue to evolve, innovators in each field must be able express themselves and their ideas to those in other fields. writers cant speak to mathematicians, educators cant speak to manufacturers, and musicians cant speak to meteorologists. the solution instead of supporting the problem?

* But too often, scientists cant speak to artists,

* So, how do we, as future educators contribute to

* We need to be able to ensure that those we teach

ARE able to communicate with others who see the world differently than us, the people who were educated in different areas. curriculum, to express themselves literally, instead of through equations, numbers, and symbols, perhaps they will be able to express themselves to the business student who has also been taught to express themselves literally.

* If I can teach my math students, as part of their

* If people in these disparate fields all learn to

express themselves literally, it would be as if we all spoke a second language. We may not be as comfortable as we are in the native tongue of our comrades. But, we know enough to ask for help. We know enough to give direction to those in need of the specialized knowledge we have gained. * But how do we teach math students to be literate?

* It starts early and often.

Each math class needs to have literacy as an aspect of its curriculum. The problem as it now stands is that there are math students at the university level who havent been required to be literate with anyone outside their specialty. * If we start in middle school or, even better, in grade school to make sure our math students are literate, then by the time they get to high school, communicating their ideas outside their field will be commonplace. * But, wont we have to fight them to get their active participation?

* Fortunately, the answer is, No.

There are many very smart people who have already given us the tools to we need to start this change. Ive found these tools this semester in the form of strategies for literacy in math. * The most important thing I will take away from this class is the strategies Ive learned and the knowledge that there are more of them out there. And now I know where to look for them. * There are strategies Ive found that, I believe, math students will not only be able to do. I think they might even find them enjoyable.

* There is one called Fibonacci Poems where

the student creates a poem where the number of syllables in each line line match a pattern based on the Fibonacci series. * Ive created a strategy, myself, of approaching Math as a language of its own and having groups of students create Math Phrasebooks to aid those who arent fluent in Math in translating word problems correctly into math equations.

* Ive discovered a number of other great

strategies that already exist. * So, in the end, the image I see of Literacy in Math has changed from the one I saw at the beginning of the semester. I see the task much differently. Perhaps I can see the solution more clearly because Im not focusing on the problem anymore. * Or, perhaps, is the reflection of the object more clear than the object itself?

* Cain, Lindsey. "Literacy Strategies for the Math

Classroom." Literacy Strategies for the Math Classroom. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2013. * Kosiak, Jennifer, Sue Schumann, Ann Harry, and Bonnie Jancik. "Growing the Connection Between Mathematics and Best-Practice Reading and Writing Strategies." Connecting Liereacy Strategies and Mathematics. Wisconsin Improving Teacher Quality Grant #09-0531., 2011. Web. Apr. 2013. < raslides.pdf >. * "Content Literacy in Math." Winthrop University, n.d. Web. Apr. 2013. * Kjesbo, Emily. "Literacy & Math." Literacy & Math. Hamline University, July 2009. Web. May 2013. <>.