Shop Now Login/Register View Quote View Cart
1.800.221.5175
Mathematics
Core Math
Sadlier Math Grades K–6 View Details | Buy Now
Progress in Mathematics Grades K–6 View Details | Buy Now
Progress in Mathematics Grades 7–8+ View Details | Buy Now
Supplemental
Progress Mathematics Grades K–8 View Details | Buy Now
New Jersey Progress Mathematics Grades K–8 Buy Now
New York Progress Mathematics Grades K–8 Buy Now
Common Core Progress Mathematics Grades K–8 Buy Now
Let's Target Math Problem Solving Grades 1–8 Buy Now
Let's Target Real-World Math Word Problems Grades 1–8 Buy Now
Critical Thinking for Active Math Minds Grades 3–6 View Details | Buy Now
Preparing for Standards-Based Assessments Grades 7–8 View Details | Buy Now
Vocabulary
Vocabulary Workshop, Tools for Comprehension Grades 1–5 View Details | Buy Now
Vocabulary Workshop, Tools for Comprehension Interactive Edition Grades 2–5 View Details | Buy Now
Vocabulary Workshop Achieve Grades 6–12+ View Details | Buy Now
Vocabulary Workshop Achieve Interactive Edition Grades 6–12+ View Details | Buy Now
Vocabulary Workshop Enriched Edition Grades 6–12+ View Details | Buy Now
Vocabulary Workshop Enriched Edition Interactive Edition Grades 6–12+ View Details | Buy Now
Vocabulary for Success Grades 6–10 View Details | Buy Now
Let's Target Vocabulary Acquisition Grades 1–8 View Details | Buy Now
Let's Target Vocabulary and Usage Grades 1–8 View Details | Buy Now
Building an Enriched Vocabulary Grades 9–12 View Details | Buy Now
English Language Arts
Progress English Language Arts Grades K-8 View Details | Buy Now
New Jersey Progress English Language Arts Grades K–8 Buy Now
New York Progress English Language Arts Grades K–8 Buy Now
Common Core Progress English Language Arts Grades K–8 Buy Now
Grammar & Writing
Grammar Workshop, Tools for Writing Grades 3–5 View Details | Buy Now
Grammar for Writing Grades 6–12 View Details | Buy Now
Let's Target Grammar Grades 1–8 View Details | Buy Now
Writing Workshop Grades 6–12 Buy Now
Writing a Research Paper Grades 6–12 Buy Now
Grammar & Writing for Standardized Tests Grades 9–12 Buy Now
Reading
From Phonics to Reading Grades K–3 View Details | Buy Now
Close Reading of Complex Texts Grades 3–8 View Details | Buy Now
Close Reading of Complex Texts Interactive Edition Grades 3–8 View Details | Buy Now
Sadlier Phonics Grades K–3 View Details | Buy Now
Let's Target Comprehension Grades 1–8 Buy Now

Sadlier's
Math Blog

A K–8 resource to support deep comprehension of math skills and concepts

March 16, 2016 3-5-operations-and-algebraic-thinking, other-writing-in-mathematics, k-2-operations-and-algebraic-thinking

Mathematical Vocabulary for the Four Operations in Elementary School

One of the posters that is most helpful to my students in class has been the chart of mathematical vocabulary words used for the different operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. It is really useful for students when they are trying to decode a word problem. I have even from time to time photocopied it so they can glue the mathematical vocabulary in their notebook.

I wanted to dig a little deeper into this topic, so I looked into the different state and national standardized tests students take in third or fourth grade. I discovered that there are many different phrases, which hadn’t naturally come to my mind, that are used on these tests.

Something that surprised me was the number of times the word total was used. It is a very high-frequency word that students often come in contact with in the classroom. Of course, we know that total means in all, but here is a list of the different ways total is used on various tests:

  • The total number (of)
  • Total amount of time
  • Spend a total of
  • Total amount of _____ used in _____
  • The total that remains after _____
  • Took a total of
  • Find the total area
  • Has a total of
  • The total number he gave away
  • The total number he has
  • The total saved each week
  • The total of a (statistical) table
  • Different ways to find the total

Another interesting thing that was a new idea to me regarding total is that it is the preferred word to sum. It has been suggested* that the word sum not be used in the early grades as not to confuse students with its homonym some. Some and sum are actually antonyms! Homonyms that are antonyms. You have got to love English.

An important word that can be confusing is the word each. Depending on how it is used, it can indicate multiplication or division. “I worked on this project for two hours each day” versus “How many cookies can I give each person?” Students need to think flexibly about the meaning of mathematical vocabulary before deciding on an operation. Here are some ways the word each was used on the various tests:

  • Each person has
  • Each of
  • Each _____ costs the same
  • Each _____ lasts _____ hours
  • The same number of _____ in each _____
  • Each row has the same number of _____
  • Each day

I encourage you to take inventory of how well your students understand mathematical vocabulary. If you find that students are struggling, start incorporating reviews at the beginning or end of each lesson. Also, look for those opportunities to point out easily confused math words while instruction is taking place.

Always remember that vocabulary development is a vital component of learning across all subject areas. It doesn't matter if a student is learning a new grammar rule or basic math formula, word knowledge will impact comprehension.

 

 

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

vocabulary-assessment-worksheets-350px.jpg

Vocabulary Assessment

Download-Now

mathematical-vocabulary-marvelous-math-activity-350px.jpeg

Marvelous Math Words Activity

Download Now

Math_Keywords_TipSheet_thumb_350px.jpg

Math Keywords Tip Sheet

Download Now

Reference

* Progressions for the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (draft) © The Common Core Standards Writing Team 29 May 2011 http://www.commoncoreworks.org/cms/lib/DC00001581/Centricity/Domain/120/ccss_progression_cc_oa_k5_2011_05_302.pdf