Mathematical Thinking: Article Summary

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Using Math Journals to Enhance Second Graders’ Communication of Mathematical Thinking is a research article written by Kathleen Kostos and Eui-kyung Shin in the Early Childhood Education Journal. Kostos and Shin (2010) felt, “It is important for students to be able to demonstrate their mathematical thinking as well as their method to solving the problem” (p.223). According to Kostos and Shin (2010), the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics guidelines state,
Teachers are encouraged to promote a math program that should allow students to organize and consolidate their mathematical thinking through communication; communicate their mathematical thinking coherently and clearly to peers, teachers, and others; analyze and
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The findings showed an improvement on students’ mathematical thinking through math communication, increased use of mathematic vocabulary, and math journals can also be used as an assessment tool (Kostos & Shin, 2010). The pre and post assessment that was administered to the sixteen students showed one student’s score remained the same, one’s score decreased, but there was an increase in the overall score of the remaining thirteen students. There was also significant growth in the students’ journal writing scores initially five students scored zero, six students scored one, and four scored two out of a total of two points. However, by the second entry no student scored a zero, and as the weeks progressed the researcher notated the students’ details, verbiage, and step-by-step explanations were much better too. Therefore, Kostos was able to conclude there was an improvement of students’ communication of mathematical thinking (Kostos & Shin, 2010). The students used mathematical terms throughout many entries in their journals. The increased use of mathematical vocabulary was evident in not only the students’ journals, but in their interviews and the teacher’s reflective journal. Therefore, there was an increase of mathematical vocabulary in their written and oral communication. Lastly, the study provided the teacher insight into the students’ thought process and their comprehension of math …show more content…
It is not the act of mimicking the teacher, drilling concepts, and computations, but taking risk, thinking through problems, and defending mathematical ideas (Bay-Williams, Karp, & Walle, 2016). While thinking through a problem writing is crucial in defending mathematical ideas. However, in mathematics writing is not only comprised of words and/or numbers, but also illustrations like pictures, tally marks, etc. can help communicate the student’s math thinking (Bay-Williams et al.). There is a learning barrier when students cannot or do not explain their mathematical reasoning for an answer. Therefore, when student independent writing in mathematics is only used as a tool to assess it proves to be less beneficial to students. However, using continual writing assignments that force students to justify and explain increases students’ proficiency in mathematics (Baxter, Olson, & Woodward, 2005). For that reason, daily and/or weekly mathematic journal writing is a good tool to use in math class. In a seventh grade study, it was observed that students’ being able to understand how to work through problems that were challenging by writing through their thought process in their journals generally helped them see errors and eventually solve problems (Baxter et al.). Study shows that students that can reflect upon their learning and evaluate their own learning processes

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