Creating a Language-Rich Math Class : Strategies and Activities for Building Conceptual Understanding book cover
2nd Edition

Creating a Language-Rich Math Class
Strategies and Activities for Building Conceptual Understanding

ISBN 9780367759957
Published November 18, 2021 by Routledge
186 Pages 178 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

What meanings do your students have for key mathematics concepts? What meanings do you wish them to have? Creating a Language-Rich Math Class offers practical approaches for developing conceptual understandings by connecting concrete, pictorial, verbal, and symbolic representations. The focus is on making mathematics memorable instead of on memorizing.

You’ll learn strategies for introducing students to math language that gives meaning to the terms and symbols they use every day; for building flexibility and precision in students’ use of math language; and for structuring activities to make them more language-rich. This second edition also provides strategies for helping students to at times be quiet and listen to their peers; for purposefully using language to introduce students to more complex mathematical symbolism and algebraic properties; and for using writing prompts to zoom in on the meanings that individual students have given to the language-rich experiences.

Appropriate for elementary teachers and instructional coaches, the book also includes features such as Investigations to Try and Questions for Reflection to help you incorporate these ideas into your practice. In addition, there are Blackline masters of game cards and puzzles, which can also be found on our website for free download at

Table of Contents

1. What Are They Really Thinking? Determining the Meaning Kids Have for Terms 2. Investigating Symbolic Decoding vs. Conceptual Language 3. Understanding the Meaning of the Operations 4. Tips for Creating a Language-Rich Math Class 5. The Power of the Forced Mute 6. Purposefully Choose and Use Materials 7. Purposefully Use Representations to Build the Language of Properties 8. Changing the Order for Introducing Mathematical Language: Experience Then Name 9. Structuring Activities to Make Them Language Rich 10. Building Precision and Flexibility in Using Mathematical Language 11. Introducing Mathematical Language as We Record Student Thinking 12. Making Sense of Word Problems: Developing Independent Problem Solvers 13. The Importance of Writing in a Language Rich Mathematics Class

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Sandra L. Atkins is committed to finding those "AHA moments" when mathematical connections are made by teachers and students. She currently works with school districts across the United States and with International Independent Schools through her company, Creating AHAs.