Maths Stories Literacy in Maths
This blog post is the first in a series of articles about how I've developed literacy within Maths lessons and incorporated fun strategies to motivate the students.
For my first post I'm writing about a recent and developing idea, that I got from seeing the wonderful work of www.lendmeyourliteracy.com, (@LendingLiteracy). They have a great set up and have given creative writing a purpose. Students from across the country are able to become published international authors. Teachers and students can also comment and like other student’s stories from across the world.
After seeing LMYL presented at #TMOxford I instantly knew this was something I wanted to develop and bring back to my maths classroom up North. Yes, I said exactly that I want to bring story writing into the maths classroom.
The cynical person may ask, what does this have to do with Maths?
With maths exams becoming increasingly functional and word counts forever increasing; now more than ever students need to understand the story behind the maths. So my idea is the students are going to create their own stories behind the maths, this then will hopefully help them as they move from KS3 to KS4 to understand what the functional questions are asking of them and to be able to apply their maths knowledge.
Maths Stories the Beginning
I’m at the very start of developing this and have many ideas to take it forward. However I am feeling so proud of my students work over Christmas I wanted to share how I have started.
At the start of the Christmas Holidays I put an optional homework on Show My Homework as a competition. I deliberately gave very minimal guidance to the students as I wanted to see where they would take the idea first. The criteria I gave was as follows;
“Over the holidays, I would like you to attempt to write a story. The story needs to be related to maths a topic, problem or puzzle, etc... There will be marks awarded for maths content. However it also needs to be a humorous, imaginative and creative. Think about your use of language techniques such as imagery and onamaterpier. Watch your spelling, grammar and punctuation. Think of childhood stories, create pictures and images for the stories. I will publish the top 10 stories on the web. I would love to see handwritten stories and pictures.”
The students took to this task and have come back excited and motivated. They couldn't wait to tell me about their stories, I had three students come see me before school on Monday to tell me excitedly about their stories. There is room for improvement and some may need more maths content and focus on basic literacy skills, however the students are excited and motivated to learn. I have managed to capture and hook in students who wouldn't normally engage with mathematics. I’m very excited for taking this project forward and seeing the students’ confidence grow in both their literacy and numeracy skills.