Integrating math and language arts in the classroom: a study on the effectiveness of math journals on language skills needed to solve word problems for third graders learning English as a second language

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Hepner, Tamber
McDowell, Kimberly D.
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The contemporary American elementary classroom is comprised of a more diverse student population than has ever been seen before. The strong emphasis of mastery in language arts and mathematics at the elementary level as outlined by the no Child Left Behind Act, causes enough stress for students whose primary language is English (native English speakers), let alone those English language learners (ELL) who require extra instruction to “catch up” to their native speaking counterparts. For teachers, the task of getting their students to reach their expected potential is getting more difficult as blocks of instruction decrease, class sizes increase, and the demands of performance based education prevail. This study intended to look at the use of the language arts practice of journaling for math instruction and its effect on academic performance in both language arts and math. Solving math word problems and writing skills were specifically assessed. A five-week intervention of math journaling was implemented in a third grade classroom. Twenty two students were divided into a control and an experimental group based on academic achievement and language status (English language learner (ELL) or native English speaker) per student records. The experimental group was given math journaling time three to four times a week for five weeks for 20 minutes to write about a prompted math concept with the researcher while the control group practiced and reviewed already taught concepts with the classroom teacher. Results showed there was a statistically significant difference in academic performance between groups in both word problem solving and writing skills with the experimental group using mathematics writing journals scoring higher in both.

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Thesis (M.A.T.)--Wichita State University, College of Education, Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction
Wichita State University
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