Making Mathematical Connections
I am learning so much from this book study. Since we are taking what we already know about what good readers do and applying it to mathematicians it makes the content so accessible -- so easy to make connections!
Our students come to us with all kinds of background knowledge and we must help them draw upon that knowledge and use it in making connections between new learning and that background knowledge. As they are able to move from teacher - prompted connections to student - initiated connections they become more involved and motivated as learners.
In reading class we talk about text to self, text to text, and text to world connections. Making connections in math class can be organized in the same way, but now we have math to self, math to math, and math to world connections.
Math to Self
This is about connecting math with your own life experiences. An early example -- relating a number to our own age. Later we may connect with interest on car loans, or mpg of our car. Just like in reading, it all starts with teacher think - alouds.
Math to Math
I teach third graders, and I'm always asking them to make connections to the math they learned before they came to my classroom. An example that may jog their thinking is the use of manipulatives -- usually they have used them before.
Math to World
An idea that I took from this section was to use current events more. In the coming year I plan to have my students pay attention to weather, elections, sports, popularity of movies, as examples of math to world connections.
This chapter is full of instructional ideas for teaching your students to make mathematical connections. One of my favorite things is using children's literature (if you've followed my blog for awhile you know I often post on this topic). Laney has an important caution here -- let read-alouds be enjoyable, not just a means to a mathematical end! I often read a book to my students on one day and then go back to it another to use it in math class.
See you next week for chapter 4!