# Teaching Math Vocabulary March 04 2014, 12 Comments

Students with learning disabilities often struggle to understand and use the appropriate vocabulary when expressing their ideas in all content areas, including mathematics. Using correct mathematical terms can seem like learning a new language! Students won't simply absorb newly taught math terms when presented throughout the lesson. Instead, the best approach is to introduce new vocabulary through explicit instruction, in the context of meaningful math examples. Students will construct meaning as the teacher repeatedly connects the term with the definition as they are engaging in mathematical investigations.

### Some tips for increasing your students' understanding and use of math vocabulary:

1.

**Graphic Organizers**: Use a graphic organizer for students to record and reinforce their understanding of math terms. In addition to the Frayer Model shown below, you can use Venn Diagrams, semantic maps, word banks, etc.2.

**Word Walls**: Vocabulary terms that are relevant to the current unit should be displayed in the classroom. The word wall should include each important word, along with a corresponding image and simple definition.3.

**Personal Word Banks**: Students should also have their own personal word walls, or word banks. If they fill out a graphic organizer for each new math vocabulary term, they can keep the words neatly stored in a math journal or binder.4.

**Modeling**: The teacher should repeatedly demonstrate how to use correct math language when presenting a new topic or discussing a math problem. Ex: "Let's take a look at the*area*, or inside space, of the shape. We already know the area is 8*square**units*…"5.

**Corrective****Feedback**: Students should be encouraged to use correct mathematical language in their speaking and writing. If they use an incorrect term, the teacher should provide immediate corrective feedback. For example, if a student says, "The inside of the shape is 8 square units," the teacher should prompt: "What is the inside of the shape called? Can you repeat your answer using the word area?"6.

**Math****Journals**: Journaling is a great way to reinforce the use of math language. As students write about what they learned in math class and how they solved specific problems, they are reflecting on the newly taught math concepts and reinforcing their understanding of the correct terms. They should be encouraged to use the word wall or graphic organizers to incorporate correct math vocabulary in their writing.**Frayer Model**

The Frayer Model is a popular tool used to understand new math vocabulary terms. In this model, students record the word in the center of the graphic organizer. In the surrounding boxes, they list the definition, characteristics, and provide examples and non-examples. Use of the Frayer Model, along with other types of graphic organizers, will lead to a deeper meaning of each mathematical term.

*Example of how to use the Frayer Model:*

How do you teach math vocabulary in your classroom? Feel free to share advice and tips below!

## Comments

Jessicaon April 28 2016 at 04:48PMHi I have just discovered this and love this hand out. Is it still possible to get a copy?

Lisa Filbrunon September 17 2015 at 11:32AMThank you for the vocabulary page.

Luminous Learningon September 15 2015 at 01:38AMI’m glad you’re interested in receiving a copy of our vocabulary handout, JH! You’ll receive a free copy of our vocabulary handout in next month’s newsletter.

JHon September 13 2015 at 12:04PMI signed up for your newsletter. I would like to use the Math vocabulary Frayer model, but I cannot find it to down load. Please help. Thank you.

Luminous Learningon September 11 2015 at 12:13PMI’m so glad you signed up for our newsletter, Jason! You’ll receive a free copy of our vocabulary handout in next month’s newsletter.

Jason Danielon September 02 2015 at 07:00PMI can’t get the Fun with Math Vocabulary Sheet even though I signed up for the newsletter. How can I get it?

Luminous Learningon August 13 2015 at 02:25PMHi Carolyn, I’m glad you want to use the math vocabulary handout! Did you sign up for our newsletter? We provide free copies of our handouts in each newsletter. The next one is coming out in a few days- stay tuned!

Carolynon July 26 2015 at 05:52PMWould love a copy of the Math Vocabulary page! It looks great and I would like to use it next year. Thank you!

margareton May 25 2015 at 01:17PMI just found your site. I am so excited to use your knowledge for my kids with special needs in my general ed room.

Luminous Learningon April 28 2015 at 01:26AMHi Cheryl and Lisa! We’re so glad you find our site and math vocabulary handout useful.

We’ll be sending out more informative math freebies in the future, so be sure to sign up for our newsletter.

In the meantime, keep teaching math!

Lisa Filbrunon April 24 2015 at 09:09AMI would love to have your math vocabulary page. I’m going to start teaching math again next year. I’m looking for journal writing activities to do.

Thanks,

Lisa

Cheryl Fentonon April 10 2015 at 05:05PMThank you so very much. Your web site is so interesting.