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Children's literature in the mathematics classroom: a flexible approach to practice

Bragg, LA, Attard, C, Muir, T ORCID: 0000-0001-6305-0679 and Livy, S 2018 , 'Children's literature in the mathematics classroom: a flexible approach to practice', in F-J Hsieh (ed.), Proceedings of the 8th ICMI-East Asia Regional Conference on Mathematics Education , National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan, pp. 267-276 .

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Abstract

Engaging children in mathematics through the use of children's literature has becomeincreasingly popular in primary classrooms (Muir, Livy, Bragg, Clark, Wells, & Attard,2017). Through considered selection of appropriate children's literature, teachers can utilisestories to help children learn mathematical concepts and skills within a context that ismeaningful to them. Children's literature offers opportunities for rich mathematicaldiscussions, problem solving, reasoning, and assists with improving children's attitudestowards mathematics (Schiro, 1997). Picture books in particular can provide anon-threatening environment through which a knowledgeable teacher can capitalise on themathematics inherent within the text and illustrations, and facilitate learning. Anecdotalevidence and observations, however, indicate that while teachers may use children's literature to engage and stimulate students in mathematical experiences, much of the potential for capitalising on important mathematical concepts is not realised. Furthermore, not all children's literature is appropriate for enhancing a mathematics lesson or providing astimulus for mathematical discourse (Muir, et al., 2017). To address these concerns, theauthors of this paper conceptualised a teaching resource book to assist teachers to engagechildren with mathematics through rich mathematical and literacy experiences. Chapters inthe book followed a similar structure, with features including identification of key mathematical 'big ideas', anticipation of misconceptions and difficulties, and planningframeworks showing how lessons could be enacted and extended. When selecting children'sliterature for inclusion in the book, we were guided by Marston's (2010) framework whichwas developed for comparing the efficacy of different types of 'mathematical' picture books,which included books where the mathematics was unintentional, explicit or embedded(Marston, 2010). To evaluate the appropriateness of the books for use in early childhood and primary classrooms, the authors trialled the lessons with participating classes. This paper reports on the results of two lessons trialed with early childhood classes, to answer the research question: How does the use of children's literature as a stimulus engage youngchildren in the learning of mathematics?

Item Type: Conference Publication
Authors/Creators:Bragg, LA and Attard, C and Muir, T and Livy, S
Keywords: children's literature, mathematics, engagement, early years
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the 8th ICMI-East Asia Regional Conference on Mathematics Education
Publisher: National Taiwan Normal University
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2018 the authors

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