Republic of the Philippines SORSOGON STATE UNIVERSITY Sorsogon City SCHOOL OF GRADUATE STUDIES Name: Bianca Isabel D. Gayanes Course/Year/Major: MAEd Mathematics – I LITERATURE IN MATHEMATICS INTRODUCTION They say, when you are good at English, you are bad at math. Similarly, when you are good at math at English. "The brain systems for maths and language are quite different," said Brian Butterworth, emeritus professor of cognitive neuropsychology at University College London, using British English's dialect for "math." "So perhaps it is not surprising that these two capacities are rather independent." Thus, there are many educators breaking stereotypes and organizing classroom activities connecting and combining mathematics and poetry to illustrate the beauty of both disciplines [4], [7], [15], a common feature to both worlds is imagination. As critical thinking has always been used in different discipline in education, involving literature in mathematical lesson could be a supportive activity to encourage and develop such skills. Literature is written information produced by people who want to sell you something or give you advice. Hence, it can be a form to teach students mathematical concepts. As most of the students find it hard to learn math. Udegbe (2009) and Anaduaka (2011) observe, however, that a large pool of students expresses lack of interest in mathematics at all levels of the educational system. This is, probably, responsible for their poor achievement in both external and internal mathematics examinations, which increase students’ dislike and phobia for mathematics and mathematics-related courses. Also, Okigbo and Okeke (2011) assert that teachers apply or use wrong methods or strategies in teaching mathematics in classrooms, thereby making the subject uninteresting. The low interest of students in mathematics emanates from anxiety and fear, and this is expressed on their faces, in mathematics classes (Okigbo & Okeke, 2011). Another cause of poor interest in mathematics is the teacher’s strategy of teaching mathematics, which does not sustain the development of interest in mathematics among others (Habor-Peters, 2001; Abakporo, 2005; Agwagah, 2005). Most of the time, students seem to get bored in every math lesson they especially if most of the learners are not fond of numbers. Using literature can be one of the strategies in teaching math. Today, more teachers are embracing non–content area books to help students understand and apply abstract mathematical concepts. Our experiences with integrating reading and math have convinced us that if we teach math skills and concepts using popular children’s books, we can effectively engage and teach even the most reluctant learners. In some important ways, learning to read and learning math are different. However, conceptualizing mathematical thinking using age-appropriate, quality children’s literature allows for productive experiences that enhance students’ mastery of the subject. Delilah Davis and Ingrid Haynes, along with Summer Pannell worked together to developed guidelines for selecting books, concluding that the books must allow us to: 1. Connect to our student’s background knowledge 2. Bridge abstract knowledge to concrete knowledge 3. Apply new knowledge to real world situations. With these guidelines in mind, Davis and Haynes then generated a list of timeless classics. Two main selections and activities proved especially effective. Amazing Grace. Mary Hoffman. Caroline Binch. 1991. Dial. Make spiders and have students number the legs on the spiders. Allow children to count (by twos) the legs on the spider. Push the math concepts of the book forward by providing coins from the U.S. and Trinidad so that students can compare the coins and use them to purchase the spiders made in class. All by Myself. Mercer Mayer. 2001. Random House. Using ordinal numbers, recount the sequence of events in the book. Have children use teddy bear cookies as counters to vote on the kind of juice they want to have with their cookies for snack. To reinforce the book’s main idea, make a graph illustrating the number of students who have little sisters, little brothers, or neither. The activities above can be used with a variety of books and adapted for use with children from pre-K through second grade. If early childhood educators use books that are carefully selected and pre-examined for their value in teaching mathematical concepts and skills, the children will be motivated to engage productively in learning. They will ask more questions, make more requests, and become involved in useful learning experiences, just as mouse did when he was given a cookie. In today’s classrooms, teachers can use children’s literature to reach a child in a non-threatening way by reading literature that can help to teach math concepts and really connect to the mathematical understanding of the learner and at the same time not intimidate, threaten or turn-off a child to mathematics like some traditional approaches. Some Benefits of Using Literature in Mathematics Instruction Include: 1. Math ideas are taught in the context of a story. 2. Combines integrated studies with reading, writing, speaking, listening, etc. 3. Thwarts math anxiety and creates a less math anxious classroom milieu. 4. Permits for a variety of responses. 5. Allows for historical, cultural, and practical applications and connections. 6. May promote the use of certain math manipulatives as it relates to the story. 7. A teacher can evaluate a child’s understanding by reading/questioning. 8. Currently there is a wide range of books to use in teaching most math concepts K-8. 9. Lends itself to problem solving and active involvement from the context of the story. 10. Affords for a shared experience for both students and the teacher (Furner, 2017a and b; Furner and Kenney, 2011; Furner and Duffy, 2002). POSSIBLE MATH ACTIVITIES FOR TEACHERS TO TRY USING CHILDREN’S LITERATURE: 1. Alphabet Snoop - The activity involves tallying with tally marks, individual graphing, class graphing, the use of calculators, and working together in groups or with families. It was very exciting and rewarding for the class as it incorporates children’s literature and actual mathematics in a nonthreatening way. 2. The Grandfather Tang’s Story. 3. Smart, use in teaching a unit on money. According to Furner, 2018. The results of using such literature in the teaching of mathematics may help to lower math anxiety and pique students interest and confidence in math and the STEM fields. In addition, with the NCTM Standards pushing for more communications in mathematics instruction (NCTM, 1989 and 2000) and the push to incorporate literature in the teaching of mathematics, teachers are now able to make better connections to mathematics and students’ lives (Furner, 2018). SYNTHEZING OF IDEAS “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” – Albert Einstein As educators we need to seek every which way to reach all types of students, turning them on to math and making them feel confident to do math and solve any problem, and also to have them use their creativity and imagination in the learning process. Mathematics doesn’t need to be spoon feeding at all. As math educators, we can use of other ways. Tho, it is a big challenge for teachers use literature in a mathematics class. We closed our ideas that teaching math focuses on worksheets, drills, memorizing facts, and direct instruction. Math does not need to be dry, teachers need to integrate, connect mathematics, work with language arts teacher, and finding good books with math. Mathematics is not really my favorite subject, it was English. I’m fond of stories and poetries. But I ended up as a math teacher. I guess, first love never dies. That’s why I really got curious about how literature be used in mathematics. Because we all know they are different discipline. And I’m glad there is a relationship. Studies supporting the integration of mathematics and literature indicate that there is a strong correlation between learning mathematics content by listening to and interacting with mathematical stories (Whitin & Wilde,1992,1995; Whitin & Whitin, 2004; Burns, 1992, 1995, Zambo, 2005). It may be a extra job to do, but if we use this strategy and we see that students enjoy and learn math in this way, then why hesitate to use this strategy? After all, as math teachers it is our job to erase the math fears and anxiety of students. Mathematics is not easy to teach and learn. But if we let ourselves to be open minded to more teaching strategies and continually to search for more, then we did our job well and continue the legacy of being teachers of 21st century learners who are into adventurous type of learning. CONCLUSION Teachers can do many things mentioned in this article in their own classrooms to help prevent and reduce math anxiety and better prepare students to the next level. According to Marilyn Burns, “"Combining math and literature in classroom activities is a way for teachers to invite children into the world of math. Reading books that weave mathematical ideas into engaging stories helps dispel the myth that math is dry, unimaginative, and inaccessible. Children's books can not only generate interest in math but also provide contexts that help bring meaning to abstract concepts. Using children's literature is a win-win -- for children and for teachers." To add, literature in mathematics can also be a remediation for students who really find it hard to learn math. As if our previous strategies are not effective, then this literature idea can be one of the best choices a teacher can do for his/her students no matter it could be an additional workload for teachers. Literature is Mathematics is not just a teaching strategy but also a way helping students to enjoy while learning. 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