Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Reading Essays in Math...What?!

By: Rachel Barry

A Math Teacher's Jealousy
I admit it, I'm jealous of English teachers.  All of the time.  I hear about the moving essays that students write in their English classes, sharing insight into the students' pasts.  There is a different, deeper relationship that can be built when you have read someone's words and heard details of their life experiences.  When I talk to English teachers, I am amazed by the openness that students are willing to share their personal stories, of which I am then jealous that I am not privy to seeing this side of my students.  Also, at a school with students from many different backgrounds, including numerous students who do not call English their first language, these teachers are better able to understand the student's level of English proficiency.  

If I ask my students to write an essay outside of class, would they do it?  Am I adding to their plate when this is not a skill assessed in either of the courses that I teach?  Will they do this if it is not for a grade?  After much brainstorming, I came to what I believed was a solid solution.  What if I asked students to submit an essay that they have already written?  I finally decided that I just needed to find a platform to be able to read my students' writing. 

As students were finishing up their finals before Winter Break, I asked them to submit any essay that they have written.  For some of my seniors, this could be a college admissions essay, while for my other students, I offered that they submit an essay in which they share insight into who they are as an individual or an essay that they are proud to have written.

This. Was. Awesome.  
I learned soooo much.  I learned about a student navigating life with immigrant parents, a student who had a parent suffer a life-threatening accident and the journey towards recovery, a student who had been diagnosed at a young age with epilepsy, a student who skipped a grade in elementary school, a student who is a DREAMer, and many students shared their passions for various sports/activities/technologies.

This exercise has not only opened my eyes to future possibilities, but it has also opened the dialogue with other teachers.  

Call To Action
Now that I have a much better understanding of students' writing abilities, I want to build more writing in math.  I want to focus on building opportunities in my math courses to have students write more in class, to express their mathematical understandings.  In a future blog post, I will reflect on the writing about the current mathematical content.

If you have other ideas for interdisciplinary activities that can gain insight into students' writing and/or details of their life, please share by stopping down in the Collab Lab or in the comments section on this blog!


  1. It is very uncommon post. Thanks Rachel for share this post. Always we read essay in English. But You talk about reading essay In Math. I am very curious about professional essay writing service. I need help about this.

  2. If you do not have greater knowledge of the English knowledge and don't have the idea that how to increase your level to write the English essay then you can go to the http://www.annotatedbibliographybuilder.com/ and can achieve your goal in the best way.

  3. It is an extremely extraordinary post. Much obliged Rachel for share this post. Continuously we read the article in English. Be that as it may, You discuss perusing paper In Math.

  4. A healthcare forum where you can get the master plan for your health in a healthy mode through website. Just get yourself connect with this link and get the guidelines for your safety and insurance with the useful links.

  5. Essay writing is very important pert for students specially for there English class. This is actually very good article about essay writing. Also try this to get comprehensive exam tips which should helpful for students. After read this article every student should get idea to write better essay. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Wonderful blog post, The young woman and both the tyke when are not set up to hold up under their own specific duty and https://www.cheapessaywritingservices.com/our-cheap-essay-services/ their own weight then how they will have the capacity to deal with the commitment of their teenagers and the family.

  7. That is showing your interest in essays :) Ah! Keep it up! I will recommend to students my great work. in this blog they'll get useful ideas of bibliography. Must contact to our professionals. They'll provide you awesome work at reasonable price.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.