Hey everyone! I am teaming up with Lit with Lyns this week to discuss the hows and whys behind incorporating writing across all subject areas including MATH! If you would like to find out why I like to include writing in my math curriculum, find out more below. There is also a linky included at the bottom so that you can share with others how YOU incorporate math into your classroom.

There seems to be a big debate about writing, especially in my area...math. We math teachers tend to think we are different than everybody else and we do not have to write. We deal with numbers. That's it. Leave us alone with all of your writing mumbo jumbo.

I have to admit, I used guilty about not doing much writing in my math classes *ducks head* However, I was determined to change that this past school year. Here is why:

#1- Despite the fact that I would love for math to be just about numbers, our students are being required to read more and more difficult text within math. I know, crazy, right?! This means I need to gear up for my students to increase their understanding of math world problems that look similar to this:

Which leads into #2- If a student can write about math, then they can definitely read about math. By getting to the stage of writing, students have to fully grasp the situation so that they can explain it. Bloom's taxonomy, anyone??? This will require a higher level of thinking than is typical required in math classes. This is where I want my students to be by the end of this school year.

My goal was for my students to write about math, but not necessarily always about how to solve word problems. This would be very soul-sucking and I would feel very sorry for my students if that is the only way we wrote. I want to include writing about how math could be used in various jobs, or how math would be used in their dream job. This will heighten their interest in writing as well as broaden their minds to how math is used in everyday life. Combine this with writing about how to solve math problems, and I think that my students will have a well-rounded understanding of the math curriculum. 

Because of these goals, I create 2 writing in math resources that I used in my classroom. They can be found here and here. They were a HUGE success!! The students became very accustomed to writing as their warm-up every single Monday. These resources are also completely print-and-go making it very easy to prep each week.

If you are thinking about incorporating writing into your math curriculum, DO IT! You will not regret it.

Paperwork. The bane of every teacher's existence. It seems that it is never-ending. If you are a general ed teacher, it's data out of the ears. In special ed, some more data and IEP paperwork. No one wins. So, how do you make sure that you don't get behind and overwhelmed with it all?

Everyone has their own way of doing things. Here is the way I keep from falling behind.

First, I keep a desk calendar, digital calendar, and planner. I do not care what kind of planner you have as long as it works for YOU. I, personally, love the ones you can buy at Target. They usually carry Blue Sky planners, and lately, have been carrying Suger Paper planners.

Why a calendar in so many areas? I use the desk calendar so I can quickly see at-a-glance what my month or week looks like. I like the digital calendar so that I can take a look at my day first thing in the morning and get my head into the right mindset and not forget appointments. Lastly, I keep the planner to keep me on track.

The second thing you need to know is that I like to stay a week ahead. This means that if I have on my calendar an IEP meeting for Wednesday, I place the to-do in my planner the Wednesday BEFORE the actual meeting. By immediately placing it in my to-do list in my planner, I am less likely to forget AND it allows me a tiny bit of leeway in case of an emergency.

Thirdly, I use my planner as a check-off list of things I need to do. Anytime a thought strikes, I immediately place it in my planner. This is why planners with plenty of writing space and lines are essential. Once it is placed, I am then able to remember that it needs to get done during my conference period without the "what was I supposed to do again?"

So, you may be sitting there and thinking I am crazy. This sounds like way too much work! And It does sound like that. However, I have built a reputation in my school as the person who is always on top of things and never late with paperwork. I promise you, that is not natural to me. I have some major attention deficits and have spent most of my life as a slob because I cannot focus long enough to get something done. By having this system, though, I have been able to go home at night knowing I truly do have everything that needs to be done on my radar and nothing is being forgotten.

If you are constantly struggling to meet your deadlines, give my method a try. I can't promise miracles, but it has worked for me so far.

Do you have a magical way of keeping up with paperwork?

Note-taking seems to take a scary turn in middle school. In elementary, interactive notebooks are a big deal right now so our middle schoolers come to us unprepared for the amount of note taking that is usually required of them. Add in the fact that a child might have a disability that hinders them from taking adequate notes, and you have a giant mess on their hands. That's where the cloze method and exchange method come into play.

Have you ever wondered why you special ed student acts they way they do or why they cannot remember anything?

Well, I wanted to give some insight from conversations I have had with my students about these very things. Head on over to the Middle School Mob in order to find out what special ed students want you to know about them.

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