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RationaleMathematics of Rollercoasters Most mathematics teachers and literacy teachers believe they live and function in separate worlds (Kester Phillips, Bardsley, Bach, Gibb-Brown 2009, p.467). This represents how we felt at the beginning of our Integrating Literacy Across Content course. As the course progressed we came to the realization that our views were clouded by our own personal experiences as students. It is now clear, as we have blossomed into educators, that that there is a strong correlation between the literacy proficiency of a student and their success in math. Not only is there basic literacy that is needed in mathematics but literacy in mathematical language. A lack in literacy in mathematics can really take a toll on student progress and that is why it is so important that current and future educators need to know how to create a sound relationship between the subject of math and literacy. Our Integrated Module Unit aims to bridge math and literacy. We will further discuss the presence of reading strategies in our module and how this helps further student understanding of the mathematical content being covered. The necessity of reading in mathematics is crucial for student advancement into higher levels of mathematics. Without the literacy skills in mathematics a student is likely to suffer from complete comprehension of the content. We should not underestimate the importance of our students being able to understand the language and logic of mathematics as captured in math textbooks. Without such understanding, advanced mathematics will simply not be accessible (Lee & Sprately, 2010). Not only do we need to concentrate on the language and logic of math textbooks, but any mathematical text. This could include articles, newspapers, websites, etc. All of these texts need to be comprehendible by the student in order for them to succeed in their content knowledge. Math educators should want their students to excel and advance into higher level math courses and in order to do so their understanding of mathematical text is essential.

Similarly, according to Hoff (2001), Some students struggle with the basics of reading so much that they cant pick up such fundamental mathematical skills as dividing fractions or manipulating algebraic functions (p.1). Therefore, not only is reading necessary for higher levels of mathematics for those students who excel in the subject, but being able to read is even crucial for understanding elementary mathematics. The necessity of reading mathematics is crucial for students to understand in context outside of the classroom. Students will be faced with real world applications where math is the focus, hence literacy and a grasp of mathematical language is required. Martinez and Martinez argue that students, begin to see mathematics, not as an isolated school subject, but as a life subjectan integral part of the greater world, with connections to concepts and knowledge encountered across the curriculum (as cited in Metisisto, 2005). As students encounter math outside the classroom the importance of literacy in mathematics becomes evident. When individuals face these applications outside the classroom they are constantly presented in a broader context that demands more than just knowledge of numbers and formulas. They are required to understand the mathematical language so that they might be able to effectively access the necessary numbers and formulas that might be needed to decipher the solution. These applications are a way in which students create meaning out of the mathematics and make it relevant to their everyday lives. It is important to note that, When real-world applications are used in the mathematics classroom, student interest is piqued and they are motivated to learn (Martin, 2007, p.31). Math in and of itself is complex subject for many individuals to grasp. The symbols, vocabulary, and syntax are unlike any other seen in the English language. It is important to realize that mathematics is a language all its own (Kester Phillips et al., 2009, p. 468). This is

one of the main reasons mathematical literacy is critical to implement in the curriculum. English Language Learners (ELLs) have complications learning mathematical language due to the fact that they havent mastered English Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) . It essentially becomes a third language they have to acquire in order to succeed at the academic level. As reinforced in English Language Learners in Math math can be especially challenging because students are faced with learning both mathematics and English at the same time (n.d.). Many reading strategies have been put into practice by numerous teachers in the math field. Some of the most common strategies implemented are Think-A-Louds, Think-PairShare, Word Meaning Graphic Organizer, Vocabulary Tree, and so on (Daniels & Zemelman, 2004, pp. 102-142). This is not only useful for ELLs but for native language speakers as well. Seeing as literacy and reading are so vital in the mathematics classroom we have constructed an Integrated Module UnitMathematics of Roller Coasters, that marries literacy, real world application, and mathematical content. In out module we incorporate three reading strategies. The first strategy posed is brainstorming. This strategy encourages students to look at key words from the text and come up with ideas and various associations that directly relate to that particular word (Daniels & Zemelman, 2004, pp. 104). On the first day of our unit students are given a worksheet with five mathematical terms: system of equations, addition method, substitution method, slope, and equations of lines. Students are asked to describe how they think each of these terms relate to amusement parks and roller coasters specifically. After the students brainstorm the class comes together and discusses the meaning of their ideas of each of the terms in relation to amusement parks and roller coasters. Our next reading strategy is presented on the fourth day of the unit. On this day students learn about systems of equations and utilize the Exit Slip reading strategy. Students will be required to write down a question they have after

reviewing their notes and related text on systems of equations or something they learned. This strategy allows students to recap their learning and note any confusion they may have encountered. It provides the teacher with snapshot of where the students are in the learning process and fuels what will be reviewed and further discussed at the beginning of the next class period. Our final reading strategy is given on the eighth day. On this day, students learn about writing equations of lines given various combinations of coordinate points and slopes. They are given a worksheet with two distinct columns, the left column being used to solve the various problems and the right column being used to write out the students detailed steps in solving the problem. This strategy not only shows student work, but also their thinking process when attacking the problem. Freitag reiterates that, Written explanations of a students problem solving process allow the teacher to understand and assess the students thinking and comprehension (n.d.). Our reading strategies were purposeful and meaningful for the sake of maximum learning comprehension had by the student. Literacy is evident in our module through the use of writing and Blooms Taxonomy. An illustrated example of this is seen on day six during the share/summarize portion of the lesson. Students are asked to synthesize their knowledge of calculating slope through a series of questions that assess the intellectual capacity of the students, based on Blooms Taxonomy, through writing. It begins by asking students to recall an equation, which represents Blooms level of remembering. Then they have to illustrate and differentiate the differences between four types of slope, which pertains to Blooms level of applying and analyzing. Finally, the students have to construct a sketch of a roller coaster that represents all four types of slope, which pertains to Blooms level of creating. The questions are arranged in such a manner that they progress from the least cognitively demanding to the most.

[L]iteracy refers to the ability to read, write, speak, and use language, according to Hope Martin (2007). We have discussed reading and writing, so now lets look at the communication aspect of literacy in the mathematics classroom. In many of our lessons students were required to discuss the current mathematical content with their peers and teacher. This is mostly clearly seen during the first day when students have to brainstorm their ideas revolving around math and amusement parks. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) encourages teachers to provide students with opportunities to learn how to communicate mathematically, and one aspect of communicating mathematically is to be able to learn by reading a math textbook (Draper, 1997, p.1). We feel as if we accomplished the task of implementing communication of mathematical understanding into our module unit effectively. There is a strong correlation between the literacy proficiency of a student and their success in math. It has been made very clear that reading and literacy in math go hand in hand. Their relationship is vital in order to attain and retain the mathematical knowledge needed for future application. The connection between literacy and the mathematics classroom is fostered through reading strategies, Blooms Taxonomy, and communication, as seen in our Integrated Module UnitMathematics of Roller Coasters.

Daniels, H. & Zemelman, S. (2004). Subjects Matter Every Teachers Guide to Content-Area Reading. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. This book describes how reading, beyond just the textbook, should be incorporated into different content-area classrooms. It explains the problems with using textbooks as the sole curriculum, and provides techniques for using the textbook more efficiently. This book also provides numerous reading strategies students can use to become better readers in the content areas. Draper, R. J. (1997). Jigsaw: Because reading your math book shouldnt be a puzzle. Clearing House, 71. Retrieved from This article not only describes the importance of reading math textbooks, but also provides a detailed explanation of how jigsawing, a reading strategy, can be used in the math classroom. Jigsawing requires students to be broken up into expert groups, where they will read a given part of the textbook and master the content before sharing their information with their learning groups. Freitag, Mark. Reading and Writing in the Mathematics Classroom. Retrieved from This source explained the importance of both reading and writing in the mathematics classroom. Teachers must help students develop the skills to learn math concepts and communicate their ideas effectively. Written explanations of the steps a student used to solve a problem are beneficial and lead to greater understanding of concepts. Kenney, J.M., Hancewicz, E., Hever, L., Metsisto, D., & Tuttle, C.L. (2005). Reading in the Mathematics Classroom. In J. Houtz (Ed.), Literacy Strategies for Improving Mathematics Instruction (pp.47) Virginia: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development. This source described the importance of reading to math students. The main idea was students should learn the language of mathematics to communicate their ideas coherently and clearly. Students will eventually connect mathematical concepts to problems they encounter in other contexts.

7 Kester Phillips, D.C., Bardsley, M.E., Bach, T. & Gibb-Brown, K. (2009). But I teach math! The journey of middle school mathematics teachers and literacy coaches learning to integrate literacy strategies into the math instruction. Education, 129. Retrieved from This article describes the interconnectedness of literacy and mathematics. It provides an explanation as to why math textbooks are so difficult for students to read. This article also details ways in which math and literacy teachers can collaborate to improve both the math and literacy skills of their students. Lee, C.D., Spratley, A. (2010). Reading in the disciplines: The challenges of adolescent literacy. New York, NY: Carnegie Corporation of New York. Retrieved from This source indicated that math texts present special literacy problems and challenges to young readers. The key to learning concepts comes through repeated practice with problem solving. Another main idea presented was the importance of students to be able to understand the language and logic of the mathematics used in textbooks. Martin, Hope (2007). Mathematical Literacy. Retrieved from gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjCKWc1gTNxtzoCXJhIvtHr6whO YBQsQNUcKqDi4BfUXdmCy-pH_FeO7S0pkR_NvXPCMfLPP62JF Igpe5ZrVdUK_z0Ko_nnK2fi9MxJi6biFJk6tqSN9VzezyD_47L0PrMlWH&sig=AHIEt TCKBIQyYQy0bE66rHDmC0vHiqchA This source described literacy as the ability to read, write, speak, and use language. It is important for teachers to engage students in meaningful mathematics. Teachers should also use real world applications to increase student interest and learning.

8 McGraw-Hill Companies (2011). English Language Learners in Math. Retrieved from
This source listed activities that would help teach math vocabulary to English language learners. It is important for teachers to understand that English language learners are learning English and the mathematical language. Teachers should vary their instruction and use reading techniques to help improve literacy in ELLs.