Today I supported two math coaches on an assessment project. They were identifying anchor papers. Throughout the 6-hour session I heard them say repeatedly, “I wouldn’t give this student that score because (fill in the blank with your personal preference.)” I also heard the typical discussion about computation and whether or not the students drew straight lines to make four quarters. What I did not hear was anything about literacy. The reality that Common Core places before us is that mathematically proficient students (MPS) must, among other things, close read well.
Below are two graphics: The Close Reading Reader and Mathematical Practice Standard 3. The two have much in common. After careful examination, what similarities do you see?
To be clear, MPS reason through problems to determine their entry point(s) and create a plan for solving the problem. Doing so requires skills similar to those used in close reading. MPS do the following:
- Seek to understand the overall problem
- Ascribe deeper meaning to the problem
- Analyze the problem by determining assumptions, concepts, etc.
- Determine sound reasoning in theirs, their peers, or a third party’s work
- Communicate and justify their conclusions, arguments, decisions, etc. based on the facts presented
Again, reference The Close Reading Reader and the third math practice standard above while considering these 5 points. There are other examples that demonstrate the strong connections between close reading and math. Should you study all of the actions of MPS along with close reading, you will be sure to discover them.
As you prepare for your summer learning and planning, consider 3 things:
- How will we move away from teaching our personal preferences and move students toward the actual learning that should be occurring?
- How will we move away from teaching students to “do” math and move them toward thinking mathematically (or disciplinary literacy)?
- How will math and ELA teachers collaborate to identify the similarities between their disciplines in order to streamline planning and learning?