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Literacy in Math

Literacy in Math by Darin Stockdill, PhD Design Coordinator, CEDER In this post, we’re taking up the following important question: “Why is literacy important in a math classroom?”  One approach I take when considering this kind of question is to immediately flip it on its head and ask, “ Why would literacy NOT be important in a math classroom? ”  Of course, answering either version of the question ultimately depends upon the definition of literacy being used.  In other words, whether or not one thinks literacy is important in a math classroom depends largely upon how literacy is defined.  When many people hear the word literacy , they often first think of reading, and when we think of reading, particularly with respect to learning to read, we often think of reading narratives, especially fictional stories.  Perhaps this is because many people learn to read in school and at home with alphabet and picture books, and then move on to short chapter books.  So our notion of learning to re

Charting a New Course: Supporting Student Engagement within the ELA DLEs

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By Victoria Les, St. Clair County RESA; Liz Lietz, Macomb ISD and Mary-Lu Strimbel, Wayne RESA Educators have spent the last school year painstakingly navigating through the storm of pandemic learning. Just as a storm at sea is brought on by the dynamic relationship of the ocean surface, wind, and atmospheric pressure, the 2020-2021 school year created conditions which upset the balance between school safety and educating our students. Teachers and administrators have been in survival mode doing their best to build virtual relationships with students, find access to high-quality texts, and create opportunities for collaboration. As ISD/RESA professionals who support educators, we have been riding this wave of uncertainty and doing our best to be a life-boat during these stormy seas. We fished through our resources to provide professional learning opportunities teachers would find timely, and help teachers chart their course to an ever-shifting definition of classroom success.  In our e

Rooted in Social Justice: Part III

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By Dr. Rosalyn Shahid, Wayne RESA, and Melissa Brooks-Yip, Washtenaw ISD The final post in a series telling the history, purpose, and direction of the Essential Instructional Practices for Disciplinary Literacy: Grades 6-12 . Future Impact of the Disciplinary Literacy Essentials Melissa: How would you say the Essentials are influencing our state?  Dr. Stockdill: The Essentials became a core document to inform new policy documents. More people within Michigan Department of Education are engaged with the Essentials. We have great MDE partners who are making this work more visible.  Melissa: Can you talk a bit about how the Essentials are impacting policy?   Dr. Stockdill:  A new set of teacher education standards are being developed, and The Essentials was one of the core documents referenced in designing those standards. I’m hopeful that going forward the Essentials will continue to be lifted.  Rosalyn: What would you consider next steps for the work?  Dr. Stockdill: We want to make su

Rooted in Social Justice: Part II

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By Dr. Rosalyn Shahid, Wayne RESA, and Melissa Brooks-Yip, Washtenaw ISD The second in a series telling the history, purpose, and direction of the Essential Instructional Practices for Disciplinary Literacy: Grades 6-12 . Purpose and Process of the Disciplinary Literacy Essentials Melissa:   What was the first idea of the Essentials and the philosophy behind them? We’re hoping to share the context and history of the Disciplinary Literacy Essentials with educators. Dr. Moje : We are looking at reading beyond 3rd grade (with the disciplinary literacy essentials).  Nobody thinks you need to do anything with reading beyond third grade!  Why third grade?  We are (with the disciplinary literacy essentials) looking at teaching the necessary dimensions of literacy and expanding beyond K-3 and 4-5. And we want to expand this in every subject, not just ELA as everyone expects. (For more on extending reading instruction beyond 3rd grade, see " Extended--and Extending-- Literacies," 20

Rooted in Social Justice: Part I

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By Dr. Rosalyn Shahid, Wayne RESA, and Melissa Brooks-Yip, Washtenaw ISD The first in a series telling the history, purpose, and direction of the Essential Instructional Practices for Disciplinary Literacy: Grades 6-12.   While the Essential Instructional Practices for Disciplinary Literacy: Grades 6-12 were presented to the educational community in 2016, did you know the roots go back to 2008?  In 2008, Dr. Elizabeth Moje was called as an expert witness in The Right to Read Case in Highland Park, MI . Her testimony addressed two essential questions: What does instruction look like when it’s serving adolescents well? and What must change to produce equal access to literacy?  Answering these questions became the impetus for drafting what would become the   Essential Instructional Practices for Disciplinary Literacy: Grades 6-12 .  From its inception, the intent of the 6-12 Essentials has been to provide a roadmap for secondary educators and policy makers to create a more socially jus

Mathematical Literacy? Disciplinary Literacy? We Need and Want Both.

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By Kathy Berry, Monroe County ISD; Cherron Ramsey, Wayne RESA; Marcus Deja, Kent ISD; Brad Thornburg, Gratiot-Isabella RESD; and Karen Reister, Traverse Bay Area ISD Think for a moment about literacy in the mathematics classroom.  What comes to mind? Do you immediately see word walls of mathematics vocabulary?  Writing in math journals?  Vocabulary strategies?  Or do you think of students connecting ideas from geometry and algebra together to solve and model problems?  Maybe you envision students individually and collaboratively analyzing a problem situation and determining multiple possible solution paths.  For each of us, our own past learning and experiences influence our reactions to “literacy.” It may be helpful to pause and seek clarity around the ideas of students becoming mathematically literate while using the tools of disciplinary literacy .  We want all students to be both critical thinkers and problem solvers. We and our students cannot dig deeply into mathematics nor ma