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Math Literacy, Common Core & Flocabulary

Flocabulary’s Order of Operations song is one way to teach math literacy.

When students sit down for their high-stakes math test and open up their standardized testing packet, they won’t be staring at a list of numbers that they need to robotically compute. They be seeing 100 multiplication problems to rattle off answers for. To succeed on math tests, they need to read. Students need math literacy.

Math literacy traditionally refers to the ability to apply math skills to real-world situations: paying a tip, paying taxes, trying to pay as little as possible for a phone plan. Notice a trend? You will literally pay for a lack of math literacy.

Common Core math standards rightly foreground real-world math applications. But to determine what math skills to apply to a word problem, students must be able to read it. The first step to real-world math literacy, is straight-up, literary literacy. The ELA Common Core standards support “making interdisciplinary connections” to improve ELA skills. And when you make those connections in math class, the ELA skills will only bolster math skills as well. In this service, we present…

5 Ways Flocabulary Can Help You Incorporate Common Core Literacy into Your Math Class

1. Read along with the lyrics

It seems simple. And it is. Whether reviewing addition and subtraction, or introducing linear equations, Flocabulary’s math songs include key mathematic vocabulary. When students can connect the written and spoken vocabulary to the math concept at hand, word problems and real-world math situations will be easier to identify. Each Flocabulary unit has printable lyrics; you can find them on the right-hand navigation bar of each video!

2. Enforce academic vocabulary with Missing Lyrics exercises

For each math song, we create an activity called “Missing Lyrics” which removes key math vocabulary words from each song. (Click on “Missing Lyrics” on the sidebar to see them disappear.) You can use the printable Missing Lyrics as a math literacy quiz to ensure that students have mastered the key words that they will see in word problems. Printable Missing Lyrics are available at the end of each printable lyrics PDF.

3. Click on lyrics to read more about math concepts

When you see a lyric that is blue, it means you can click on it to read more about the topic. An infobox will pop out with more information. By having students read the infobox, whether together as a class or individually, you’ll strengthen literacy skills and ensure that students have practice reading math-related text.

4. Have students write rhymes to explain a math concept

In ELA classes, an important way to prove mastery of a literary subject is to write about it. And the same is true for math. Once students have shown understanding of a math concept, have them write their own word problem that applies the concept to the real world. Or even better, have them put the word problem in rhyme with Flocabulary’s Writing Academic Rhymes lesson sequence.

5. Extra prep with the test-taking vocabulary video

In addition to a strong math vocabulary, reviewing general test-taking vocabulary can help improve student outcomes on high-stakes tests. Review words like “justify,” “analyze” and “evaluate” with Flocabulary’s test-taking vocabulary song.

Tips for improving math literacy? Share them in the comments!