Many teachers are beginning to integrate math and literature into their school day. Teachers that traditionally set a block amount of time to teach math and then another block of time to teach language arts are finding that integrating the two subjects gives more time for teaching the curriculum. “Math literacy” will engage the students who love books and also the students who love math in the same lesson.
Think of the four components of an effective language arts program (speaking, listening, reading, writing) and begin to integrate them into your math program. Have your child communicate mathematically in their conversations with the teacher and classmates and also when writing in their math journals. Make time for students to share their ideas and justify their answers.
Using a piece of literature in a math lesson will help engage the learner and also may pose a worthwhile task. One book that lends itself to a rich task is The Three Hat Day by Laura Geringer. In the story, R.R. Pottle lives by himself in the Pottle mansion and collects hats. One day he is so lonely he wears three hats and goes for a walk. After reading the story pose this problem to your students. How many different ways can R.R. Pottle wear his three different hats?
As a teacher we are constantly looking for ways to help all our students. Math literacy provides another way to integrate the curriculum. Begin to look at the books in your classroom library and think of problems to pose that will meet the needs of the children in your classroom.