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spelling and math
Posted:
Mar 5, 2001 8:38 PM


As a secondary math teacher with an elementary certification, I have previously taught language arts and social studies, along with math. I have a hard time confining correct spelling to just work completed in language arts class. In fact, it's been my experience that spelling can have a direct impact on math performance. On one test I gave, 52 out of 55 students missed a problem that used the word seventieth ( they mistook it for seventeenth ). On another, many students missed a problem because they saw no difference between "hundred" and "hundredth". In last week's midPOW, too many students used pie for pi. If the correct spelling of pi is overlooked, it may lead to reading comprehension problems if a student saw pi in print and did not recognize what the word or symbol represented.
I feel that as math teachers, we need to devote some quality time to teaching reading and writing in the content area and part of that responsibility requires addressing the importance of correct spelling. Some of the reading instruction needs to be guided oral reading so that students can make a connection between the printed word, like "integer", and its correct pronunciation. For our students to become independent learners, they need to be able to comprehend what they read and clearly communicate precise mathematical ideas and processes. I'd like to know how others handle spelling in math.



