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ERIC Number: EJ1001860
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1073-5836
Tales, Tasks, Tools, and Talk
McKeny, Timothy S.; Foley, Gregory D.
Teaching Children Mathematics, v19 n5 p316-323 Dec 2012
The importance of a literacy-based approach to content learning, especially within elementary school grades, is not a new idea. During the past quarter-century, the use of children's literature as an effective teaching tool has gained popularity across all content areas (Thiessen 2004). The definition of literacy has expanded not only to include various print and nonprint media but also to incorporate quantitative literacy through the development of number, number sense, and measurement. Integrating measurement tasks with children's literature and classroom discourse builds a base for a quantitatively literate child. Providing opportunities for children to read, write, listen, and speak mathematically strengthens their connections among number, quantity, and symbol as well as linking language literacy and quantitative literacy. Foley, Strayer, and Regan (2010, p. 6) define quantitative literacy as "a form of general literacy" that combines numerical reasoning, measurement, statistical reasoning, modeling, and mathematical communication. The Better Mathematics through Literacy (BMTL) project has convinced the authors that quantitative literacy can be developed in concert with general language literacy, cognitively engaging tasks, and purposeful classroom discussion. The BMTL project is a professional-development initiative that shows teachers and intervention specialists how to use children's literature as a basis for student-centered mathematics instruction in K-grade 5. The tasks used in BMTL are tied to the tales in children's books, giving enhanced meaning to the phrase "story problem." Well-chosen measurement activities from BMTL invite early-grade learners into the mathematical practices of sense making and reasoning through tales, tasks, tools, and talk. This article highlights teaching tips and sample tasks from the BMTL project that develop students' understanding of quantity and fluency in measurement for K-grade 5 within the context of children's literature, writing, and communicating.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A