By Ellen Eisenberg

By Ellen Eisenberg, Executive Director of The Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching (PIIC)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

In the June 20, 2016 Education Week Teacher section, Amy Shapiro, a math teacher wrote about her experiences teaching math and science and how those experiences changed her thinking and ultimately, her instructional practices. She came to an amazing realization: “I believe that the key to creating a classroom environment with a true symbiotic relationship between teaching and learning is writing, so next year, my students will be doing a lot of it.”

She mentions in her blog that she recognizes the importance of students learning to solve problems and to talk to one another about those solutions but more importantly … “to teach them to write about their strategies and thought processes, or they will always struggle to exhibit their mathematical understandings.”  She also reflects and realizes that she must assess her students’ strengths and needs appropriately and prepare herself to meet the changing demands of her students by examining their progress and addressing their needs in ways that will help them become successful.

Wow, where have you heard that… “using evidence-based literacy practices” in all content areas?

Writing is part of literacy. Instructional coaches remind teachers about the importance and necessity of writing across the curriculum. They help teachers collaborate so that talking about writing becomes the norm, not the exception. They help dispel the myth that writing only occurs in English class.

Remember to build in ample opportunities for teachers to work collaboratively and cooperatively around the integration of writing in every class, every day. Help them understand the significance of writing to learn; scaffold ways to help them integrate writing into their work through John Collins writing, “Do Nows,” Tickets Out/In the Door, and other strategies to increase the amount of daily writing. Help teachers work with students to talk about their writing and what they’ve learned through the writing process.

What are some of the ways you work with teachers to help them enhance their students’ writing skills?

2 comments:

  1. Students can work to improve their writing skills in math class through a four step process.

    1. What is the problem asking? What is the problem about?
    2. How will I solve the problem? What strategies will I use to solve the problem?
    3. Solve. Is their another way to solve this problem?
    4. How do I know my answer is reasonable? Does the answer make sense?

    By providing students with a scaffolding form that leads them through this process helps students improve their writing skills in math.

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  2. Hi Stacy.
    Thank you for your comment.

    What a great way to incorporate writing in math class. If students can explain the "what," they have a better chance to understand the "why." And writing about it helps them think through the process.

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