# Math Proficiency and Writing in Math Class: Scaffolding Whole Class and Guided Math Groups Activities Part II

There are a few key articles floating around the web about math journal writing. They give lots of great prompts. But, I have been thinking lately about how much more helpful they would be if the prompts were categorized in terms of the mathematical proficiency. In this way, teachers can focus on what they are aiming for when they have students to write in math class.

I am starting with Conceptual Understanding and in the next few posts I will discuss the other areas. Below I have listed some key articles. I suggest when you look at prompts that you think about which element of mathematical proficiency you are working on and try to work on different ones throughout the year.

**Conceptual Understanding: **

*In these types of prompts students are trying to explain their understanding of concepts. These types of prompts want students to explain big ideas and the concepts. In doing these types of prompts, students should also use graphic organizers like the Frayer Model sometimes.*

- _______ is like…
- We use ________for
- If we didn’t have _______then we would not be able to ____
- Write everything you know about ____________
- Write some examples of ______________
- Make up a 5 question test about ___________( make 3 easy problems and 2 hard problems)
- Write a story/word problem whose answer is _________
- Why???
- The most important thing about _______ is _____
- What does _______ mean?
- Explain _______…
- What does ________mean in your own words? (use the current vocabulary)

**Great Resources: **

59 Math Writing Prompts:

http://futureofmath.misterteacher.com/Writing%20Prompts.pdf

101 Math Writing Prompts: http://myteacherpages.com/webpages/jgriffin/journal.cfm

** Writing from literature and math activities:**

http://catholicmomsjourney.blogspot.com/2007/07/math-journal-ideas.html

http://www.calicocookie.com/mathjournal.html

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I feel like I am taking a course with you! You are provided scaffolding so teachers can also scaffold for their students. It’s just amazing how you can organize the math writing into a strategy which can be applied with ease. (and for the skeptics – lots of rationale.)

LisaJanuary 25, 2011