This work focuses on giving teachers concrete strategies for implementing the benchmarking and assessment techniques. It is important to develop lesson plans that include the major components of this program. Gunning gives a straightforward approach to implementing these concepts.
Without getting into the individual strategies, let us suffice to say that these teaching methods may be the best developed over other similar experiments. Gunning's work was based on solid theory and best practices. The purpose of this research was to examine the connection between math and reading. In the first section of this study, we found that there is a high correlation between math and reading scores. Gunning's work on assessment-based teaching only discussed its use to improve reading skills. However, this same concept could also be applied to math. This is the key to improving both math and reading skills. Benchmarking will be a necessary component in the development of math programs that emphasize reading.
One example of using reading and writing techniques to enhance math is through the use of a journal. Journals are often used to bridge reading and writing skills. Cimochowsky addresses the use of journals as a part of math, social studies, and science as a means to improve literacy skills and to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the subject that the child is studying. Writing Across the Curriculum is a program designed to encourage writing skills in all subject areas.
According to Cimochowsky, the use of a journal in any subject means that he student gains a sense of ownership of the material. The use of a journal encourages exploration into the material. Journals are a way to make certain that the student has a comprehensive understanding of the material being presented. The teacher can guide the writing by having the student answer certain questions or to include certain material. Writing engages the child and encourages them to explore a subject thoroughly and to question in the process. All of these skills are necessary for applied math.
Journal writing is an important tool for learning critical analysis techniques. Students must explore their topic, organize their thoughts and then put them in a form that can be used solve a logic problem (Cimochowsky, p. 4). Journal writing helps students improve their test taking skills as they are learning to organize their thoughts and put them into the form of an essay. This is an essential skill that was hardly addressed in the past, especially in computational math.
In order to write on a particular subject, the student must first become familiar with the vocabulary of the subject matter. They must possess a more thorough understanding of the subject then they would to pass a multiple choice test, for example. In a fill in the blank type of question the child can often guess the correct answer with a minimal understanding of the subject. They simply use a process of elimination or clues from the text itself to guess the correct answer. This is not possible with journal writing.
Journals are a key technique that can be used to fuse reading, writing, and math skills. However, one must remember that journals do not have to be limited to freeform expository writing. They can include diagrams and pictures to help the student explain the concepts and thought processes that they went through to arrive at the answer. This technique emphasizes practical application the concepts learned. This is an important step in gaining skills necessary in mathematics. Writing Across the Curriculum has many advantages to current teaching methods. However, it does have a key disadvantage; it is more difficult to score then traditional methods.
The purpose of this research was to explore the connection between reading skills and math skills. Qualitative approaches to the problems found the connection is an important one and those deficiencies in reading lead to problems in other subjects, such as math and science. Quantitative studies supported the qualitative findings and the need to find a method for combining reading and math skills. Several theoretical models were discussed including the need for assessment-based curriculum.
The most critical problem facing the adoption of new techniques, such as the use of journals in the math classroom, is that teachers do not have the support needed to continue with the new technique as written. This proved to be a major frustration and a set-back to the changes that need to be made to the math program. Teacher need to change the way that they think about Math. They need to find ways to integrate computational skills and real life situations.
This research demonstrated a strong connection between reading the applied math. Skills in other subjects will not improve until the child is able to read and comprehend at a sufficient level to understand the texts. The key to improving all test scores across the board is to concentrate on key reading and writing skills. Programs need to concentrate on these important skills and develop ways to include them in the curriculum.
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Cimochowsky, A. Writing Across the Curriculum Series. Educator's Publishing Service. http://www.epsbooks.com/downloads/research_papers/WAC_research.pdf.
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