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Tuesday Teacher Tips: Activities to Reinforce Math Vocabulary

Welcome to the Tuesday Teacher Tips series! Each week we’ll highlight teaching and learning resources, ideas to use in the classroom, as well as things to ponder as you go about your teaching day.

Our November parent and teacher newsletters focused on developing math vocabulary. Below are some more activities to use with your students.

A working math word wall
After you’ve introduced a word, put it up on the word wall and refer to it often. It lets the students see the written word and incorporate it into their reading vocabulary. Throughout the day, if you catch a student correctly using a word that’s on the list, put a sticker next to the word. This encourages students to use the words again and again in their daily conversations.

“Wanted” flyers
To highlight math vocabulary words that have multiple meanings, have students make flyers titled, “Wanted for Math.”

First, create a bulletin board titled, “Also Defined As…” With the class, brainstorm math vocabulary words that have multiple meanings. For example: similar, even, odd, multiply, factor, prime, face, and power. Each student chooses a word and writes it in the center of their paper in big, bold letters. Around the word they should write the many definitions of this word, as well as pictures to illustrate.

Vocabulary posters
After students have had learning experiences to understand the concepts and ideas behind new vocabulary, have them create posters to illustrate the meaning to teach others. This will get them thinking about not only what a word means, but how can it be shown visually for someone else to understand.

For example, they might write the word liter inside a picture of a liter of soda. Display these throughout the school to highlight your students’ math learning.

If you’re looking for examples to show the class, check out the Mathematics Word Wall developed by Michele S. Weiner, Regional Center II Instructional Supervisor. The document published by the Broward County Public School has visual representations of 35 key math vocabularies.

What activities do you use in the classroom to reinforce vocabulary? We’d love to hear about them.