Monday, July 15, 2013

Building Mathematical Comprehension Chapter 7

Determining Importance

I found this chapter to be dense with Amazing information. The focus of this chapter is helping students identify relevant information. This will help them not get sidetracked with all the facts and details of a math problem.

Sammons refers to levels of determining importance:
  1. Word Level- math vocabulary, bold print, italics, highlighted words, etc.
  2. Sentence Level- typically most important information is found in the middle of a math problem. Knowing structure of mathematical word problems is helpful.
  3. Idea Level- the Big idea. Students will benefit by practicing how to identify the overall meaning of word problems. Word level and sentence level help get to idea level.
Sammons share several strategies to teach determining importance. Here are three:
  • Overviewing- students skim over text and try to find important words, sentences, and ideas
  • Highlighting- students decide what is worthy of highlighting
  • Read a Little, Think a Little- students read one sentence at a time to find important information
Like I said, it was a dense chapter and I want to focus on a bit at a time. Take highlighting for instance. Put a highlighter in the hands of my students and they will highlight just about everything on the page. I need to explicitly teach them how to distinguish between interesting information and what is important information. After reading this chapter I know have better tools on how to do this. I created a chart that will help me focus on what is interesting information and what is important information and one that will limit the amount of irrelevant highlighting my students are prone to.
Let me know what you think and just click on the pic to download.

It just hit me that I should be compiling a list of children's books that supports each strategy. For determining importance these books will help.

Caps for Sale
The Grapes of Math
Mind-Stretching Math Riddles

Teaching my students to recognize information that is important and useful is essential for them to understand mathematical concepts and problems in deeper way. This is the road to becoming a critical thinker.


  1. Oh my GoSH!! Your freebie is awesome!! Love, love, love it!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    Primary Inspired

    1. Ahh! Thank you that is very kind of you to say.

      2 Smart Wenches


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