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Developing Mathematical Language Developing children’s mathematical language involves more than teaching them how to say the mathematical words. Children also need to understand the words and some may need support in using other academic language to put mathematical words into sentences to construct meaning. Children need to be encouraged to use their developing language skills to express their mathematical ideas and understanding. Every mathematics lesson should incorporate some aspect of mathematical talk including the accurate use of vocabulary. To support children’s conceptual understanding, vocabulary, accompanied where possible by visual clues, should form a permanent part of the classroom display. The ideas in this section come under three key areas: Learning the words Using the words Explaining and reasoning Each activity can be easily adapted to suit all age groups as well as other areas of the mathematics curriculum. Resources available from: http://webfronter.com/lewisham/primarycommunity (Follow links – mathematics-Teacher resources- Planning resources for Y2 & 3 teachers) LEARNING THE WORDS: Activity Connections (place value) Outline Children create visual representations of numbers in different contexts Matching vocabulary to definitions (use more diagrams for younger children) Visuals Children create their own pictures to illustrate the meaning of mathematical vocabulary Vocabulary web ‘Grouping and sharing’ Use this to explore words that have a different meaning outside of mathematics (see also ‘using the words’) Use actions to illustrate the difference between sharing and grouping for division. Sharing: mime giving out handfuls of Grouping; mime grabbing handfuls USING THE WORDS: Activity Outline Say it – Encourage children to use mathematical vocabulary in context and to give answers using complete sentences. Say it again Children say number sentences in different ways e.g. 5 minus 2, 5 subtract 2, What is the difference between 5 and 2 etc. Can also be used for multiplication and division. Use prompt cards showing the relationships to support children Explanations 106736955 Aug 2011 Resources Resource bank within ActivPrimary Vocabulary booklet template See also ‘doubles and near doubles’ section Jean Knapp web resources Say it again flipchart In pairs children choose 1 from a list of words to explain to their partner ‘what does it mean?’ ‘give an example’. Feedback what your partner said. Do they agree that is what was said? (during discussion if they don’t agree with what is said they should say so). Some children may need visual reminders of what the words mean in 1 Vocabulary web Sentences order to help them explain it or they may need to draw their example. Use this to explore words that have a different meaning outside of mathematics (see also ‘using the words’) Provide children with words related to the four operations (e.g. addition and subtraction) and some sets 3 related numbers e.g. 11, 6, 5 Children use combine the numbers with the words to make relevant sentences e.g. ’11 minus 5 equals 6’ etc. EXPLANATION AND REASONING: Activity Outline Link it: Show children 3-4 words/phrases from the vocabulary list and ask them to explain how any two are connected Odd one out Show children 3 words/phrases from the vocabulary list and ask them to explain which they think is the odd one out and why. (helps children makes links and enables teacher to identify misconceptions) Always, sometimes, never true Give children a statement to discuss in pairs e.g. “Doubling a number makes it bigger”. Children give an explanation justifying their reasoning and giving examples, True or false? Same as ‘always, sometimes, never true’ but using KS1 mathematical ideas. E.g. “When I double a number the answer is even” or “6 – 4 gives the same answer as 16 – 14” Talk frames and commentaries Encourage children at the beginning and throughout the lesson to use key language to describe their methods. Jean Knapp web Sentences template for addition and subtraction Sentences template for multiplication and division resources Odd One Out combinations flipchart Always sometimes never… / true or false? Examples Talk frames for calculating with empty number lines: Talk frames and commentaries for use with an empty number line: Encourage children to use this language alongside the correct mathematical vocabulary in order to verbalise their thinking. Make adjustments according to areas children need to develop e.g. with addition of a 2 digit number some children may need to focus on the language related to partitioning into tens and units, counting on in 10s then continuing to count on in 1s. For finding the difference/missing number, some children may need to focus on the last sentence ‘to find the answer I need to…’ For division and multiplication it is important to practise these skills in the context of a word problem. SOME STRATEGIES FOR TAKING FEEDBACK: Whisper the answer – While waiting for one person to think of the answer, allow the rest of the class to whisper the answer (very quietly) to their partner. Was your answer the same? Think, Pair, Share – Give children some time to think on their own before talking to a partner and finally sharing with the group / class. Heads or tails - Tell children that the person who feeds back at the end will be determined by the toss of a coin (i.e. at random). 106736955 Aug 2011 2