General Writing Assignments
- Math biography: Describe how you feel about math, and how you feel about yourself as a mathematician. Go as far back as you can remember. What do you like about learning math? What do you not like? - This suggestion came from Jane Countryman's book, and I think it's a great idea.
- What are your goals for this class? What type of math will you be taking in your future studies, high school and college?
- "Discuss, in paragraph form, three qualities of a good teacher and three qualities of a good student. Explain why these qualities are important."
- Describe or define what is meant by a "fair" test. Also, describe how you prepare for math tests and quizzes.
- Explain how you organize your math notebook or folder. How does your notebook help you? Could you organize it differently so it would be more helpful?
- Discuss whether or not you think writing has enhanced experiences in this math class. Which writing assignment did you like most? Least? Why?
- One concept that I am still confused on is...
- I got this problem wrong because...
- One concept I learned in this section that I totally get is...
- I can see the relationship between <this concept> and ...
- Explain how you know your answer to <a particular problem or type of problem> is reasonable.
- Describe how to do <this type of problem> to someone who
- --was absent from class today.
- --will be taking this class next year. (Students can't assume as much prior knowledge in their target audience.)
- --took this class last year.
- Describe two different ways you can find the solution to <this type of problem>.
- Explain one way to check your answer to <this type of problem>.
- Explain one thing you learned today that you understand, and one thing you are struggling with. (Do this as a ticket out the door so you can get immediate feedback)
- How did you study for this test? How did that affect your grade? What could you do differently to study for the next test?
- Why did you make the mistakes you did on the test/quiz? What misunderstandings did you have that are now clearer? What is still unclear to you?
- What topics from earlier in the year do you recall and still feel comfortable with?
- How does a sinusoidal wave relate to an object that is moving in a circular motion? What objects do you use or encounter in everyday life move in a circular motion?
- Which topics this year made you feel the most successful? Why? What about the topic or lesson made you feel comfortable with that topic?”
Other writing in math class, and miscellaneous thoughts
- Add “explain how to” questions on worksheets, tests and quizzes.
- Have students write their “how to” explanations on large post-it-notes and stick them on the wall as a warm-up.
- Have students modify earlier journal entries based on teacher feedback.
- Have students summarize a problem-solving activity. The students should explain the problem, strategies used to solve it, and the solution in their own words.
- Have students explain what they want to write about to a partner first, then write their ideas down.