## Tuesday, February 26, 2013

### Read Any Good Math Books Lately?

On Friday, March 1, people across the country will dust off their books, power up their tablets and e-readers, and celebrate the joy of reading with such notable literary giants as The Cat in the Hat, the Lorax, Horton the elephant, and other Dr. Seuss characters. "Grab your Hat and Read with the Cat" is the theme of this year's Read Across America celebration.
"You're Never Too Old, Too Wacky, Too Wild, To Pick Up A Book And Read With A Child."

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2. An American writer, poet, and cartoonist, he is perhaps most widely known for his children's books written under the pen names Dr. Seuss. Read more about him at Seussville.com.

In Excel Math, we combine math with literacy throughout the school year with our unique Create A Problem exercises. Here's a story problem from Excel Math 4th grade (the answer is given below):
Four girls caught a total of 20 bugs. If they each caught the same number of bugs, how many bugs did each girl catch?
In Excel Math, students tackle word problems in 2nd through 6th grades. In addition to shorter problems similar to the one above, Excel Math has a unique take on story problems, called Create A Problem. With these more complex word problems, students are given a chance to express their own understanding of a story problem. Create A Problem exercises merge math and literacy as they help students develop higher-order thinking skills. Take a look at a sample Create A Problem page on our website.

Create A Problem lessons start with simple stories and give students a chance to observe what is happening in the story. They then use those observations to have the students solve problems. Later in the curriculum, we ask students to create a problem or two, and make up a CheckAnswer. (Read about the CheckAnswer system in our previous blog post.) Finally, students are able to finish a story in their own words and write several problems about their story ending. This demonstrates mastery AND integration. The format of the page allows longer answers, along with charts, graphs and other expressions of the students' solutions. Read more about these word stories on our previous blog post

Here are some additional resources for including literature in your math class all year long.

Elaine Young from Texas A & M University has put together a page of links to literature organized in a table by math topics and age ranges: Mathematics and Children's Literature.

Here's a rather extensive list of math story books for the elementary classroom: http://www.math.utah.edu/~keir/elembook.html
The list includes a subject category that indicates if the story is about numbers, shapes, ratios, fractions, counting, tangrams, or another math topic.

This list of read-aloud books from the International Reading Association is a good short list of books with math topics such as counting. Stories like The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss introduce literature to your young math students while letting them practice math concepts in a fun, interactive way.

Encyclopedia Brown Mysteries by Donald Sobol are great short story collections that can be read aloud to help students think through logic problems and brainteasers as they solve the mysteries of this clever boy detective.

Draw a Math Story: From the Concrete to the Symbolic is an activity from Read, Write, Think. It uses math literature as a model for students to write their own stories incorporating addition and subtraction.

If you hold a read-a-thon on Friday, consider letting your students bring their favorite hats for your reading session (just don't let them share hats since lice can be easily transferred in this way) or bring a photo of themselves wearing a hat. Encourage your students to take a picture of themselves reading in a unique place (on a swing, in a tree, while standing on their heads, in a boat, in a museum, on a train, while on vacation in another state, etc.) and post the photos on a classroom bulletin board. For some math bulletin board ideas, read our previous post, New Year Bulletin Board Ideas for the Math Classroom.
The ReadingRockets website has a list of books to help children ages 0 - 9 enjoy counting and math: http://www.readingrockets.org/articles/books/c562/

Mathematics and Children's Literature is a collection of five lessons on the NCTM Illuminations website uses children's books to teach math topics ranging from algebraic thinking in the primary grades to data analysis, geometry, and measurement.

Download and copy this certificate to present to your students who participate in this day of reading. (To save time, sign and date the master and then print or copy it before adding each student's name.) Visit the Read Across America website to download a certificate to give to each your volunteer helpers.
 Read Across America Certificate of Participation Click here to download the PDF file.
For printable math certificates that you can customize for your own students, read our previous post: Printable Math Certificates and Awards.
 Printable Excel Math Certificate of Completion Click here to view and download the PDf file.
The answer to our fourth grade story problem is 5 bugs per girl. Your students can check their answers by multiplying the number of girls times the number of bugs they got for their answer (4 x 5 = 20).

New to Excel Math? Take a look at elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade. Also find lots of math resources for teachers, parents and students at excelmath.com.

Leave a comment below if you have additional ideas you've used to merge math with literacy for your students.

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