Kids who can talk about math and explain their discoveries consistently show gains in achievement on problem-solving measures.
We also know that adaptive reasoning skills are developed through oral math talk and the sharing of ideas.
Our students are used to seeing math as symbols and abstract concepts. Talking about math is hard when they don't have the background knowledge.
Why is oral math talk so important?
I could see in my own classroom that so many students have no idea how to discuss math - they don't understand the language, there has been little experience with discussing observations and almost no background in refining and defending unique solutions to problems.
I wrote Mother Goose Math just for my class, and their ability to discuss math topics, use academic vocabulary and develop their own unique problems and solutions soared!
A study published in Developmental Psychology (2010) recorded parents talking to their children to see how often “number words” were used. As all teachers would expect, there were large gaps among the families in the study.
Many students heard over 1500 “math words” every week, while others heard a mere 24 on average. Do you think there were differences in academic achievement?
Attitudes about math also play a huge part in achievement. Activity based classrooms where students talk through their discoveries and develop complex reasoning skills also achieve significantly better.
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Mother Goose Math sets up learners for initial mathematical discussions as a whole group and develops a comfort level for talking about math.
It also allows teachers to continually monitor and reinforce what these math talks should look and sound like before gradually releasing their class to partnerships and small groups.
Mother Goose Math has over 100 pages of math talk and problem solving activities, along with working on fluency and comprehension skills.
There are 6 parts for every lesson:
You can expect that your class will need to spend quite a bit of time sharing, challenging and explaining their ways of thinking to each other.
The first few times will likely be a struggle, as many kids have never really talked about math before.
In fact, each Mother Goose Math lesson could take 4-5 days:
An additional day may be for journaling about their mathematical discussions during the week.
This is where teachers really see and are able to analyze how well each student actually grasped the concepts and is able to incorporate using math terms and vocabulary into their writing.
However you choose to use Mother Goose Math, you will see gains in the ability of your students to use academic vocabulary and open up discussions about multiple ways to solve problems.
Do these lessons on a regular basis with integrity and enthusiasm, and you will surely see the language of math become second nature in your classroom.