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Algebra - Reading and Writing Activities

Algebra Out Loud: Learning Mathematics Through Reading and Writing Activities
Pat Mower, Ph.D.
Publisher: Jossey-Bass 2003

Brief Description:
The author, Pat Mower, has written a helpful resource filled with many ideas to incorporate reading and writing activities in Algebra courses. These activities are suitable for secondary and college level classrooms. Teachers and professors will find examples and lessons to improve their students reading habits, and understanding of math. I believe students’ retention of math concepts will increase too due to the engaging nature of the activities.

Table of Contents
Part One – Reading to Learn Algebra

1. Prereading Strategies and Activities
Review / Preview Process
Knowledge Ratings
Anticipation Guides
Problem-Solving Prep

2. Reading and Vocabulary-Building Strategies and Activities
Magic Square Activity
Concept Circles
Semantic Feature Analysis
Graphic Organizers
Reading Math Symbols
Proof Reading

3. Postreading Strategies and Activities
Group Speak
Concept Cards
Frayer Model
Question-Answer Relationship (QAR)
Comparison and Contrast Matrix

4. Readings in Algebra
The Secret Society of Pythagoreans - An Ancient Cult
Ancient Egyptian Multiplication
Marathon Math
True Prime

Part Two - Writing to Learn Algebra

5. Writing to Understand Algebra
In Your Own Words – A Paraphrasing Activity
MO (Method of Operation)
Graph Description Activity
Crib Sheets
Math Story Activity
Math Ads
The Writing Is On the Wall
Creating a Math Mnemonic
Creation of Written Problems (or Fat Men in Pink Leotards)
Math Concept Paragraphs
Math Biographies
Experimenting–to –Learn–Algebra Reports
Concept Math
Learning Logs

6. Writing to Communicate Algebra
Writing Across Campus
Group Exposition
Guided Math Poetry
Math Profiling
Math Journals
Mathematical Investigator

7. Writing as Authentic Assessment
Muddiest Point
Math Analogies
One Minute Summary
Math is a Four-Letter Word
Math Similes, Metaphors, and Analogies
Targeted Problem–Solving Assessments
Self-Portrait as a Learner of Algebra

,b>8. Writing for Assessment
Math Portfolios
Math Essays
Write Questions
Math Posters


Features I Like:
* I like the numerous varieties of ideas.

*The author extends permission for individual classroom teachers to reproduce math activities. Of course, permission is not given to an entire school system.

*Three subheadings are included for each activity:
1. What? Description
2. Why? Objectives
3. How? Example

To Be Desired:

I desire to have this book on my bookshelf as soon as possible!

Prior to reading this book, I have used some of the above activities in my classroom with good success. For example, the Muddiest Point gave students the opportunity to write on an index card what objectives were still confusing to them at the end of a lesson. As a result, I was able to review those topics in my next lesson. In Algebra Out Loud, the author has provided a worksheet for students to use. Secondly, I have required students to write an explanation on how to solve a particular type of problem without worrying about grammar and so on. The One-Minute Summary gives details for this activity.

In conclusion, I highly recommend Algebra Out Loud – Learning Mathematics Through Reading and Writing Activities. I look forward to using more of the activities in my math class.

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