The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Writing-Math Connection

        Because a school day is packed with academic requirements, and there is not enough time to accomplish everything, we have to "double dip" and sometimes even triple dip---we have to integrate writing with math, and science with social studies, and so on.

        Tomorrow I go back to work officially.  I had a marathon session over the weekend, and spent some time yesterday---most of the day---unpacking boxes and trying to figure out the best configuation of the desks and bookcases.

        As I'm moving furniture here, then there, and back to here, my mind is trying to sort out the puzzle of how I can do the best job I can with my students.

         I found a couple of  math sites that might be helpful.  I also remembered a poetry activity that can easily be used in math to help students deepen their understanding.

Articles and Activities

      As I was thinking about activities that would engage the students, I remembered "Two Voice" poems.  These are poems that are meant to be read aloud by two students/performers.  They highlight the differences as well as the similarities between people, objects, books, characters in a story, etc.  Check these books below (there's even a math one):

Here is a rough version (hey, I'm writing it right now, off the top of my head) so that you get the idea.  The lines off to the left and right are said by the performers---one takes the left lines, the other student takes the right lines.  The lines that are in the middle are said in unison by both of the students.  (And remember when you are gauging me on your Lame-O Meter, I teach third grade---what is lame to middle-schoolers is fun to third graders.)


       Subtraction and Addition---Opposites Attract

                     I am addition

                                                                                                                               And I am subtraction

                                                         We are opposites, yet we're friends

                   I use the plus sign         

                                                                                                                           Of course, I use the minus sign

                 I start with smaller numbers
                and end up with a bigger number

                                                                                                                     While I start with a bigger number
                                                                                                                      and end up with a smaller number

                                                         And even though we're very different,
                                                         we stick together, like when you go to the store.

               When you buy a bunch of stuff,
               the cashier adds all the things together
               (which is called the sum or total)

                                                                                                                    Then the cashier subtracts  the total 
                                                                                                                    from the money you have, 
                                                                                                                    and you get some money back,
                                                                                                                  (which is called the difference or the change back) 

                                 We are great friends---we're addition and subtraction!

        This kind of poem works well whenever the two "subjects" are opposite.  It can be ideas or activities--good vs. evil, talking vs. listening---as well.

        I would love to hear from teachers who try a two-voice poem in their classroom...Did it work?  What did your students think of it?  What are some obstacles you had to contend with?





  1. Hi Sioux,
    I'm not a teacher, but I love the concept!

  2. Can I be a little girl again and be in your classroom? I just love your ideas and most of all the enthusiam you have for writing and the variety of approaches you have in your toolkit.


Thanks for your comments. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by...