I remember when math class used to be a strength for so many school aged kids receiving language intervention because of the focus on counting and calculations. That was before Math Talk entered the picture as part of the common core standards. When our school district offered a professional development session on Math Talk, I attended and was stunned at the complexity of language expected both receptively and expressively.
I observed a second grade math class with an excellent teacher who used the following steps to teach/assess comprehension of a word problem:
√ He read the word problem aloud, then restated it in his own words.
√ The students partnered up and explained the problem to each other.
√ One student retold it aloud.
√ The students partnered up to talk about which operation to use and why.
√ After a student shared aloud, he asked who agreed.
√ He gave the class the problem to solve with a partner talking it out.
Students are expected to ask and answer the following types of questions:
Δ How is your graph different from ______’s graph?
Δ How did you know to…..?
Δ How did you get 375?
Δ Why did you add?
My school district has a pacing guide for each academic subject for the 180 days of the school year. These guides specify vocabulary to be taught and have been helpful for me to pull math and/or ELA vocabulary from. District math resources also have materials to teach students to ask and answer the question stems in math. I like to use these stems in our sessions because they can be used in discussion of any topic.
For some of my students, the area most sorely lacking is retelling or restating – this is where the lack of comprehension is instantly obvious. Some students don’t know what it means to “say it again in their own words” so learning that skill becomes our first step using easy word problems to start.
Since I work a lot on self-advocacy with students with hearing loss, I also like to use books such as these for restating/retelling intervention:
∇ Having Hearing Aids (available on Oticon’s website)
∇ Books used in the classroom for small group time reading or the Daily Five (This allows me to integrate the self-advocacy content and goals with the language goals.)
A few years ago I developed a learning kit called ListenAbility for SHapes (LASH). Common core standards specify math vocabulary to be learned so I created this tool to integrate language, auditory, articulation and self-advocacy skill instruction with academic content of math for K-3. Contained are 16 lesson cards with specific directions on teaching shape vocabulary and language concepts then a variety of ways to practice it in simple to complex receptive and expressive language. Included are:
Ο Game board
Ο 3-D shapes
Ο CD containing picture decks, data sheets, sample IEP goals, etc.
LASH is a great tool for:
ζ Teachers of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing
ζ ESL teachers
ζ Math interventionists
I came up with this visual to depict the importance of language during the school day. Do you agree?