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ERIC Number: EJ878888
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Apr
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 8
ISSN: ISSN-1073-5836
A Foxy Loxy and a Lallapalagram
Wilson, Johnnie B.
Teaching Children Mathematics, v16 n8 p492-499 Apr 2010
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that teaching mathematics should greatly differ from teaching language arts. Classroom teachers at Munich International School in Starnberg, Bavaria, Germany, did not pay much attention to what language means to learning and teaching mathematics--until their geometry students offered language surprises that reminded their teachers how important language is. When teachers confront interesting uses of language during mathematics lessons, they must consider how that language matters to students' understanding. This article describes a first-grade geometry unit that focused on the attributes of plane and solid figures. Teachers organized the curriculum around naming and sorting activities that include many opportunities for students to construct figures. In planning the unit, teachers discussed how language seems to matter more to this unit than to others. The central activity to doing the math in geometry was naming. The author presents examples of naming geometric shapes--diamonds or squares, rectangles or "lallapalagrams," hexagons or "foxy loxies." The construction of mathematical meaning through the work of naming is important in all these examples. In constructing meaning through naming, the author suggests that teachers should bridge everyday understanding of geometric figures to more formal mathematical understanding of these figures. (Contains 3 figures.)
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; Grade 1
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany