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Mathematical Literacy in the Middle and High School Grades: A Modern Approach to Sparking Student Interest / Edition 1

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What are people saying about Mathematical Literacy in the Middle and High School Grades?

Dave Barry says, “T his is the most interesting book I've ever read about using literacy skills to improve students' mathematical learning. Granted, it's also the only book I've ever read on that topic. But if I ever became a teacher, I would definitely employ the theories explained in this book. Of course, if I ever became a teacher, Western Civilization would be doomed, so I'll just settle for recommending this book to the actual professionals."

- Dave Barry is a Pulitzer prize-winning humorist and author, and for 25 years he was a syndicated columnist with the Miami Herald.

Paul George says, Educators have long known that literacy is a significant key to improving achievement in mathematics, but too little has been done about it that is directly and immediately helpful to teachers and students. This book is a long-awaited synthesis, fresh and remarkably practical. Since many thousands of middle schools, and hundreds of high schools now feature the organization of teachers and students into interdisciplinary teams, this book will make it possible for new collaborations between teachers on the same teams in ways that will not only strengthen mathematics instruction, but will facilitate teacher team collaboration in new and powerful ways. No middle or high school faculty should be without this important new resource."

- Paul S. George, Distinguished Professor of Education Emeritus, is a recipient of the National Middle School Association's Lounsbury Award for lifetime achievement in middle school education

How do you recognize math concepts when they are hidden in a story students will find engrossing? How do you develop and use hands-on activities to reinforce those concepts?

These questions and more are answered for middle and high school teachers as they work through and use the concepts and practical ideas presented in this illuminating new text. The book begins with an overview of the theory behind new strategies for teaching mathematics, then moves on to more practical matters, providing concrete assistance to today’s busy teachers—including a variety of ready-to-use activities they can use “as is” or adapt to fit their own particular classrooms and student needs.

Drawing from the experience of two diverse authors, each with her own perspective on the topics, the book provides solutions that couldn’t be accomplished through the efforts of one person alone. Together the authors communicate the theory behind teaching many varied subjects in mathematics through using literature as a tool. By incorporating the concepts and ideas in this book, in-service teachers can develop their own integrated lesson plans or learn how to develop similar plans on their own, ultimately coming up with a plan that enhances and enlightens students’ mathematics learning by incorporating a variety of texts into the math classroom and develops students’ literacy skills.

Future and in-service teachers learn how to:

  • Incorporate reading into mathematics content through a variety of well-researched approaches.
  • Develop a well-rounded approach to the teaching of mathematics through the development of literacy skills.
  • Save time on lesson planning with numerous high-quality, ready-to-use classroom activities that explore the relationship between mathematics and literacy.
  • Use a wide variety of text in their lessons by referring to the authors’ extensive bibliographies of prescreened books and other reading material well suited for the mathematics classroom.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780132180979
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 5/16/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Faith H. Wallace, Ph.D., is a Professor of Literacy who specializes in bringing reading into the non-literature classroom. She is the author of a book on reading mathematics, and she has written a number of national peer-reviewed papers and presented at local, state, regional, and national conferences. A reading specialist, she has worked extensively with the University System of Georgia's Reading Consortium, helping support the diverse reading needs of Georgia's students. This has given her a wide-ranging knowledge of the professional development of reading teachers, as well as an understanding of reading in the content areas. Dr. Wallace has a particular research interest in reading in the mathematics classroom.

Mary Anna Evans is a licensed professional engineer, an experienced educator, and the award-winning author of the Faye Longchamp archaeological mysteries: Artifacts, Relics, Effigies, Findings, Floodgates, Strangers, and Plunder. Her education in physics and engineering, as well as her passion for reading and writing, has resulted in a dual career as a novelist who also writes on math and science education. When a cell phone drops from a tall tower in one of her books, yet is still functional afterward, the physics explaining why this is possible is feathered into the narrative accurately, yet so gently that the explanation reads as story, not as instruction. Math educators have recognized this attention to detail as an opportunity to bring reading materials that students enjoy, like mystery fiction, into the mathematics classroom. Ms. Evans speaks frequently on math and science literacy to both students and educators.

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Table of Contents


Why This Book and Why These Authors

How to Use this Book

Section I: Mathematical Literacy

Chapter 1. Exploring the Porous Boundary Between Doing Mathematics and Understanding Text

Introduction to Mathematical Literacy

Sidebar: Notes on Standards of Practice Used in This Text

Tiny Children Love to Count—Where Do We Lose them?

One Text, Many Lessons in Math Literacy

Co-teaching with Computer Educators to Enhance Word Analysis Assignments

Ordinal Numbers, Cardinal Numbers, Numerals, and Other Words Expressing Quantity

Geometry—The Shape of Things

A Question of Time

What’s the Likelihood of Finding Math in Your Pleasure Reading?

Looking for Mathematical Text in Your Student’s World

Classroom Discussion Questions for Artifacts

Helping Students Find Math in Unexpected Places

Lesson Plan 1-1: Interested in Getting Rich? --An investigation of simple interest, compound interest, and exponential functions based on Artifacts


Chapter 2. Reading Strategies: Making Meaning of Text


How Does Reading Mathematics Differ From Other Kinds of Reading?

How Can We Help Students Make Meaning From Mathematical Text?

Prior Knowledge: An Experiment

Using Reading Activities to Enhance Student Understanding

Reading Guide: Alice in Wonderland

Lesson Plan 2-1: The Universal Book of Mathematics Vocabulary Squares

Lesson Plan 2-2: Red Blazer Girls Multi-Column Journal


Section II: Exploring Mathematical Text

Chapter 3. Introduction—Fiction and Mathematical Literacy: Finding Universal Truths in Made-Up Stories

Mathematics Is Everywhere, Even in Fairy Tales

Comments from the Classroom by Alyson Lischka

Finding Math Where You Least Expect It by Mary Anna Evans

Annotated Bibliographies - Fiction

Fiction Recommended for Middle Grade Classes

Fiction Recommended for High School Classes

Lesson Plan 3-1: The Wrong Ratio Can Be Deadly: An Investigation of Ratios based on Effigies


Chapter 4. Nonfiction: The Place Where True Stories and Mathematics Intersect


Annotated Bibliography of Nonfiction Books Suitable for Middle and High School Classes

Activity Books

Reference Books

Concept Books


Using Technology to Explore Other Nonfiction Formats

Textbox 1: One Blogger’s Perception of the Beauty of Math by Brent Yorgey

Annotated Bibliography of Mathematical Blogs

Nonfiction in the Math Classroom

Lesson Plan 4-1: “Grappling Over Grades” Anticipation Guide

Lesson Plan 4-2: Archimedes R.A.F.T.


Chapter 5. Picture Books: Where Math, Text, and Illustrations Collide


Textbox 1: Cindy Neuschwander and Sir Cumference

Textbox 2: Fibonacci in Nature by Sarah Campbell

Activity: Sketching (or Eating) Your Way Through the Text with The Lion’s Share

Annotated Bibliography of Picture Books for the Middle and High School Grades

Lesson Plan 5-1 - Anticipation Guide for Reflections in Nature by Jane Yolen


Section III: Literacy and Mathematics in the Culture

Chapter 6. Poetry and Music: A Most Mathematical Approach to Words


Math and Meter


Math as a Springboard to Verbal Creativity

“Midsummer” by Mary Anna Evans

“the curvature of spacetime” by Johnny Masiulewicz

Poetry for Poetry’s Sake

Loving Words the Way Zero Loves One by Lola Haskins

Activity 6-1: Poetry Counts

Activity 6-2: Fractions, Poetic Meter, and Spoken English

Activity 6-3: Relating Vibrational Frequency to Pitch with Ratios

Activity 6-4: Rhythm and Language—Bringing Poetry, Music, and Mathematics Together

Activity 6-5: Catenaries, Large and Small—Visual Calculus


Chapter 7. Environmental Print: Math in Daily Life

Definition of Environmental Print

Where to Find Environmental Print

Ideas for Using Environmental Print in Class

Level 1: Practicing Problems

Level 2: Constructing Knowledge About Problem Solving

Level 3: Thinking Critically About Mathematics and Literacy

A Level 1 Example—Checking the Fine Print for Ways to Practice Mathematical Skills

A Level 1 Hands-On Activity: Find the Math in this Simulated Frequent Buyer Program

A Level 2 Example—Assembling Knowledge As It Pertains To Citizenship…The Impact of Polls on Elections

A Level 2 Hands-On Activity: A Poll Is Only As Good As The Questions Asked

A Level 3 Example—Think Critically About Research Studies: Do Statistics Lie?

A Level 3 Hands-On Activity: How Can Two Contradictory Studies Be True?

So what? Using math to make people care


Chapter 8. Mathematics and the Electronic Culture: Social Media, Gaming, and Reality Shows


A Word About Constant Change: How Will You Deal With It Over the Course of Your Career?

Social media

Games and Their Relationship to Math

Simulation Games: The Algebra Connection


Ratios and Rates

Linear Equations

Other opportunities to enhance literacy using computer gaming

Geometry in computer gaming

Television Reality Shows


Lesson Plan 8-1: Tweets that Go On Forever and Ever…

Lesson Plan 8-2: What Can Reality Shows Teach Us About American Electoral Politics?


Chapter 9. Conclusion

Chapter 10. Appendices

Appendix A: Selections from Artifacts

Appendix B: A Concordance of the Words Used in the Opening Passages of Artifacts, by Mary Anna Evans

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