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Why Math Vocabulary is So Important

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We want our learners to be successful with math skills. But are we teaching them to be math literate? One strategy to promote math literacy is by purposefully instructing and using math vocabulary every day in our classroom.

Math Literacy

Reading math books is a great way to engage learners, but that is not what being math literate means. Math literacy is when learners are able to problem solve and use the language of math in everyday situations.

As we teach important early math skills we need to use math vocabulary to show how these skills relate to our every day life. By making this connection with our learners early in their education we are building a strong foundation for them to be confident and effective with math in their future.

Math Vocabulary

I remember teaching kindergarten and asking the first grade teachers what they wanted us to pay more attention to in our math instruction. They were quick to answer…vocabulary.

I wanted my learners to be comfortable with numbers, know their shapes and count. I didn’t even consider the language I was using in my kindergarten math lessons.

After that meeting I was determined to be more purposeful in teaching and using the correct terminology in the classroom. I created a math wall that included words (and horribly drawn images) on sentence strips from our curriculum. I used vocabulary to describe items, actions and processes during the school day.

And you know what happened? My kindergarteners modeled my behavior and referred to those ugly images on our math wall. They were becoming math literate.

What are you doing?

So I ask,

What are you doing in your classroom to help your learners understand and make meaning with math?

Do you have vocabulary cards on a math wall?

Are you speaking to them with the correct terminology and using vocabulary throughout the day?

Or do you think you could improve?

Free MINI Math Vocabulary Cards

You will find half page vocabulary cards in my math packs. There are perfect to add to your math wall and attach to a metal ring when each unit is over.

But as a sneak peek and a resource for your guided math table I want to offer you free MINI math vocabulary cards.

You can download the cards by clicking on the image at the bottom of this post.

You can also find out about a special offer for my Math Pack Bundle here and 4 other strategies to include in your math instruction here.

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