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Writing Strategies in Maths

Developing and organising ideas



Writing for a purpose






Revising and editing




Background Reading to the Strategies
Summary of Chapter 6
("Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 9-13")




1. What the research tells us
Knowing about the writing process - Skilled writers draw on prior knowledge. They critically analyse and evaluate their work as they clarify their ideas, chose vocabulary and compose and revise their work. Four stages of the writing process:
Stage 1 - Forming intentions
Stage 2 - Composing a text
Stage 3 - Revising
Stage 4 - Publishing
Knowing about purposes for writing and text forms

Research has shown that teachers can improve their students' academic writing if they explicitly teach them how different text forms are structured and how to use the strategies associated with the writing process e.g. research on the use of writing frames shows that once students have a structure they are more able to generate ideas and organise those ideas coherently and logically.




2. What the challenges are
Teachers need the know the specific purposes for writing required for their subject and then to explicitly teach for these purposes.
Knowing the students: Asttle writing results (or other)
Knowing what teachers can do: Use writing strategies to develop writing for mathematics
Developing independent learners: Sharing and discussing their writing, writing in their learning journal about their finished product.




3. What can make a difference: the deliberate use of literacy strategies
Teaching approaches for writing
Using shared and guided approaches to writing
Shared writing is a joint writing approach in which both the student and the teacher contribute to the plan and the ideas and the language of the text.
Guided writing is where the teacher discusses and models the writing, and then the students go on to construct the text individually.
Purpose:
Students learn how to construct a text through shared writing - how to brainstorm ideas, plan an outline, draft a piece of writing for a particular purpose in a specific form. Students learn from the teacher and from other students.
What the teacher does:
Before beginning the writing, teacher shares the reason for collaborative exercise, then works through one or more stages of the writing process with the students, then models how a writer analyses, evaluates and clarifies their ideas, chooses correct language and composes, revises a text.
What the students do:
engage actively in the process, suggest ideas.
http://21stfollowup.wikispaces.com/Math-Activity4

Strategies for composing paragraphs
Using templates and acronyms
Templates and acronyms provide valuable support to structure/sequence ideas and paragraphs, so that students include all the necessary information e.g. TTRCA template for Level 2 Simulations.

What the teacher does:
Discuss the purpose of the writing required and the structure and language that will be needed. Provide a template for the students e.g. writing an explanatory paragraph.

Template for Writing an Explanation.jpg
ACRONYMS for writing:
1. Explanation - SEED - Statement/Explain/Example/Diagram
2. Argument - APE - Assertion/Proof/Example
3. Description - GEE - Generalisation/Elaboration/Example
4. Discussion - PPQ - Point/Paraphrase/Quote

Shared paragraph writing
Students work in small groups taking different roles to construct a paragraph. Give each group a topic and a list of subject-specific words to use. Each student takes a turn to dictate a sentence. The group then discusses their 3 sentences and make changes to construct a good paragraph. Class then shares their paragraphs to build up a model exemplar.

Strategies for composing extended texts
Using writing frames
Students learn how to use a writing frame which is an outline of a planned text that includes prompts. The outline summarises the structure of the planned text and states what should be written in each section.




Sharing quality work
By reading and analysing examples of good work, students get a clear understanding of what they are expected to write. Scan the example and show on the whiteboard, discuss and annotate with the class all the features required.
Use the New Zealand Curriculum Exemplars for junior school maths:
http://www.tki.org.nz/r/assessment/exemplars/maths/index_e.php
Use NCEA exemplars for senior school maths:
http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/ncea/assessment/search.do?query=mathematics&view=files&level=02

Organising and linking ideas
Students use a list of connective words and phrases to sequence and link a series of paragraphs - see Appendix 11 in Effective Literacy Manual.