Module 3: A Deeper Look at Meaningful Writing
Lessons are designed for educators wishing to increase their understanding of disciplinary literacy at their own pace.
Lesson 3.1: Introduction—What is Meaningful Writing?
Lesson 3:1: Introduction - What is Meaning Writing?
Task 1: Thoughts on Meaningful Writing
Read the following quotes about meaningful writing. As you read, make notes about each quote in your notebook.
“Writing raises the “cognitive bar” by challenging students to problem solve and think critically. No other action requires students to be so grounded in a viewpoint that they can convince others, to know a process so thoroughly that they can explain it to someone else or to grasp the nuances of an idea so deeply that they can convey it in a way that provokes thought and sparks discussion.”
“Writing supports mathematical reasoning and problem solving and helps students internalize the characteristics of effective communication. Teachers should read student writing for evidence of logical conclusions, justifications of answers and processes, and the use of facts to explain their thinking.”
“Writing and talking enable learners to make their thinking visible. Writing creates a record of our thinking that we can analyze and reflect upon.”
“The slow pace of writing is conducive to student learning. Since writing is comparatively slow to reading, talking, or listening, it forces thinking to slow down to the pace of the writing. This allows students to reason through thoughts carefully to make sure they are correct and complete before they are stated.”
“Writing is both a generative and reflective process.”
“Writing in mathematics gives me a window into my students’ thoughts that I don’t normally get when they just compute problems. It shows me their roadblocks, and it also gives me, as a teacher, a road map.”
“Writing about science concepts and scientific thinking provide students with the opportunity to engage in thinking and types of expository writing that they typically do not encounter at other times. Talking about and writing scientific conclusions after conducting Investigations and analyzing test results involves high-level thinking and writing skills that fall into the categories of writing to persuade and writing to explain, two purposes of writing that the new Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts emphasizes as a means of improving student literacy skills as they prepare for college and careers.”
“A student’s ability to explain concepts in writing is related to the ability to comprehend and apply mathematical concepts. When a student demonstrates the ability to write about concepts this may be viewed as both an expression of comprehension and a product of knowledge.”
“Writing is a powerful tool because it provides a unique form of feedback. As the student writes, information from the process is immediately and visibly available, which allows the learner to review the reasoning for correctness. Moreover, writing clarifies and organizes a student’s thoughts. Since writing prepares a product for another person, the author must make sure that the writing flows and that all points are made clearly.”
“Literacy skills are acquired in a meaningful context. Students do not learn different forms of writing in isolation, apart from authentic experiences. For example, they learn how to write a conclusion after they have completed a scientific investigation and need to share their results with other scientists. This makes the writing meaningful, which increases student motivation.”
Task 2: Disciplinary Literacy Strategy--Stem Completion
Task 3: Video: Meaningful Writing STEM Completion
View the video showing the thoughts of participants at the 2012 IQ-MS Summer Institute when asked to complete the Meaningful Writing Stem Completion activity.
How do their thoughts compare to your thoughts?
Task 4: Disciplinary Literacy Strategy--Reflective Writing
You’ve examined some research quotes about meaningful writing, processed your thinking in writing using the Stem Completion strategy, and reviewed the work of other educators given the same task. Now, reflect on the following question in your professional notebook:
Why is meaningful writing important in mathematics and/or science classrooms?
Draw a line under your response and leave space to revisit this prompt later in the module.