And You Thought it Could Not Be Done: Blogging in Math

7/11/2014 12:00:00 AM

Sometimes I am still amazed that not more Language Arts teachers have taken a good look at blogging. It seems such a match made in heaven:

  • giving students an authentic audience for their writing…
  • incorporating modern skills of writing & reading in digital spaces… (hyperlinking, transmedia, research, etc.)
  • platform designed for feedback


It surprised me even more (in a good way), when I saw a Math teacher starting to take advantage of the primarily thought of “blogging is about writing- hence for a writing class” platform.

The Math teacher instinctively understood that blogging is not just about writing. It is about “presenting” your work, your thoughts and products to a large audience FOR feedback. Blogging is a platform that allows students to think about their Math work.

In a previous blog post,  Telling a Story with Data, you  read about Laurel Janewicz‘ upgrade of her traditionally taught lesson of data analysis, graphing and misleading graphs. Laurel was also the teacher, you read about in Making Thinking Visible in Math regarding her work on metacognition in her sixth grade Math classroom.

Blogs played a major role in the upgrade. As the process of creating the data story presentations unfolded, students started to test and recommend various graph-generators or presentation tools. Laurel created a post on her classroom blog to share the recommendations that students shared with her. She then opened the post up for her students to add further links in the comment section. [Note the times students posted to appreciate the extended schedule to share and receive ideas/support for their project development.]
Ms. J s 6th Grade Math Data Project Discoveries-blog

Ms. J s 6th Grade Math Data Project Discoveries-comments

Students had created a presentation, analyzing and articulating a story of the data they had been presented, Part of the learning cycle was to share these presentations on their blogfolios. This could be accomplished by inserting images (screenshots) of their presentation with text, by embed a slidedeck, movie or other presentation platform with an embed code.

The rubric for the blog post had included the following requirements:

  • Include a title to hook the reader
  • original data
  • measure of central tendency
  • all graphic displayed
  • complete analysis
  • complete list of resources

Students were then assigned to look at, view and listen to 2-3 other classmates’ presentations. Keeping the rubric in mind, the teacher had distributed at the beginning of the project, students were to give “helpful” feedback beyond a short “Cool presentation” comment.

At the beginning of class, Laurel gave students clear instructions regarding her expectations of quality comments. She stressed that feedback is designed to make a product better and it was meant to be addressed and responded to when someone had taken the time to leave it.

  • What about the blog post title hooked you?  Are there any suggestions you have for it?
  • How did the presentation of the data keep you interested and engaged?
  • What inferences can you make or what conclusions do you draw about the actual data that are different from the project creator’s?
  • How would you extend the story, meaning what would the next episode be about?  (e.g. What data would you want to survey and collect? Who would you want to collect it from?  Share it with?)
  • Think about all of the elements of the graphs, including the misleading ones: title, colors, axes titles, legends, readability.  What comments do you have?

Natasha, who graciously allowed me to use her image, demonstrated great presentation design and digital citizenship on her blog post,You can Never Go too deep When it Comes to Data , when she decided to take her own photo to match the topic of her blog post, instead of having to search for a Creative Commons or Public Domain one or infringe on copyright by using one she had goggled.


Laurel shared the following three blog posts that stood out in her own mind as examples:
 I just think she does a great job of having the data tell a story in an engaging, interesting way.  She is the first to have shared her project with me for feedback and I used it to share as an exemplar with classes.
The title hooks me.  Her analysis from different perspectives is quite good.
Jack incorporates a student and parent interview as a way to provide their perspective of the data.

Still surprised that a Math teacher is using blogging with her students? Learning how to read, write and communicate in different Media in Math is another puzzle piece in making Math more authentic and less abstract for students. Adding and amplifying an audience for students adds engagement and perspectives as well as improves quality of the work as it is transparently shared.

Heidi Hayes Jacobs supports a more language based Math instructions with technology tools. She has also long advocated to teach Math as a foreign language. In an interview with Visual Thesaurus in 2010 she shares the importance of students to internalize Mathematical vocabulary and to be able to use them when one is speaking.

“If Maria cannot say the words fraction, numerator, and denominator, then she certainly can’t read them, let alone carry out her fourth grade math assignment.” [...] Mary White from Harvard did a study on decibel levels in comparative levels of math classes in Japan and in our country, and they were significantly higher in Japanese math classes because they have kids speak out loud about what they’re doing. You can’t even ask a question about math if you can’t say the words, polynomial or fraction, for that matter, let alone read them.

Using blogging as a pedagogy, as a method and practice of teaching, in the Math class supports Heidi’s claim of treating the teaching of Math as a World Language instruction. Get the students talking, communicating their ideas, receiving and giving feedback and having conversations…. about Math!

How are you using blogging in Math instruction?

Reading through commenting examples from our students:

  • I am seeing the process of blogging unfold.
  • I am seeing students being exposed to receiving and giving feedback.
  • I am seeing students seeking and responding to feedback and incorporating it to tweak, improve and share their updates (feedback loop)
  • I am seeing the transparency of creating and sharing lead to improvement
  • I am seeing the amplification on an author’s own perspectives by the addition of a commenter’s point of view
  • I am seeing students exposed to more than their own work (ideas, interpretation, creativity, execution, etc.) and feedback from one teacher

data-analysis-project2 data-analysis-project3 data-analysis-project4

cross posted at

Silvia Tolisano is a Curriculum21 faculty member, author of the book Digital Storytelling Tools for Educators and founder of the Around the World with 80 Schools project. Read more at

comments powered by Disqus

New Study Finds Alabama Students Improve Test Scores Using Fuel Education’s Stride

Study by the Auburn University Center for Evaluation (ACE) found Fuel ...

StudySync Presents the 2017 MyStudySyncTV Contest Winners

Each year, StudySync awards prizes for the top middle school and high ...

Dremel Unveils DigiLab Product Suite with New 3D45 Printer

MOUNT PROSPECT, ILL. (JULY 19, 2017) — Educators and l...

Educators and Advocates Travel to Fort Collins for Renewable Energy Education Training

The 26 hand-selected participants, all of which have a passion for spr...

Epson BrightLink Interactive Laser Display Wins ISTE 2017 Best of Show Award

Connecting Educators and Students with Creative Collaboration in the C...

MeTEOR Education Releases New Learning Resource for Educators: Humanizing the Education Machine Thinking Guide

New Thinking Guide Serves as a Companion Workbook that Helps Educators...

Impero’s “Best Technology for Schools” Grant Helps Stone County Schools Improve Student Safety

Impero Education Pro provides Stone County with student safety and cla...

T&L Partner Post
Photo GalleriesView All Galleries >
Acer C720-2844 Chromebook

( The Acer C720-2844 Chromebook model delivers speedy performance, a quick boot time of seven seconds, and a matte anti-glare display tha...

Britannica ImageQuest

( Britannica Digital Learning has upgraded ImageQuest, a resource for schools and libraries that provides nearly three million rig...


( Promethean has released ClassFlow, a free, all-in-one, cloud-based teaching tool that lets teachers create and deliver interactive...

Adobe Voice

( Adobe has released Adobe Voice, an animated video app for the iPad that lets users create and share video stories. The app incorporate...


( The BOXLIGHT DeskBoard mobile cart adjusts both height and tilt for the P8 ultra short throw interactive projector on a white surfa...

Core 36M

( Bretford has introduced Core 36M, a 36-unit charging cart that is optimized for Chromebooks but which also supports most tablets, l...

Edmentum Sensei

( Edmentum Sensei is a mobile optimized solution that helps administrators visualize and track overall school, teacher, and student p...

HMH Player

( HMH has released HMH Player, a new native app for iOS and Google Chrome that streamlines the learning experience for improved digital ...

Juice Power System

( Bretford has unveiled an easy-to-use modular power system with exchangeable power components. The Juice Power System uses unique &#...


( LightSail Education has announced a literacy accelerator that combines books with in-text embedded assessments and real-time dat...


( myON has expanded its digital library to include a set of literacy tools to further personalize the reading experience for students whi...

Nervanix Clarity

( Nervanix has released Clarity, an application that monitors student attention levels as they study and guides them to revisit conce...


( RobotsLAB has introduced MathBall, a smart sensor basketball and tablet system that offers curricula in algebra, pre-calculus, phy...


( Wasp Barcode’s MobileAsset.EDU solutions include everything administrators need to account for their assets, from software...

OpenEd Assessment Creation Tool

( OpenEd has announced a free tool that lets teachers easily create assessments with the question types required by Common Core standard...

Panasonic TH-80LFB70U

( Panasonic’s TH-80LFB70U interactive LED display features high-speed, multi-touch, interactive capabilities to promote partic...

penveu interactive display system

( The penveu interactive display system is a handheld device that turns projectors and large screen displays into interactive whiteboar...


( Califone has updated its PresentationPro speaker. The PA310 readily connects with computers, LCD projectors, mobile devices, intera...

PowerSync+ Mobile Companion App

( Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has announced the availability of the companion app for its PowerSync+ enabled charge and sync produc...

PureCharge Carts and Stations for iPad

( Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has debuted the PureCharge family of iPad and iPad mini charging carts and stations. By offering pre-i...

ProQuest Research Companion

( ProQuest’s new information literacy product, Research Companion, offers videos that guide users through the research process,...

Sphere2 & Class Send Student Engagement Software Platform

( AVer Information has developed a Student Engagement platform, providing teachers and students with the tools to transmit document ca...


( AVer has released the TabChargeCT2 charge cart solution, which can hold up to 40 Chromebooks, iPads, Android or Windows tablets, lap...

VoiceLift with Instant Alert and Emergency Video Monitoring

( The Instant Alert function of the Extron VoiceLift Microphone, combined with a PoleVault, WallVault, or PlenumVault classroom AV sys...

SMART Board 6065

( The SMART Board 6065 is an ultra HD, 4K interactive flat panel that offers collaborative capabilities while ensuring lessons run s...

Gaggle Unity Partner Program

( The new Gaggle Unity Partner Program provides free data integration services for all educational technology vendors. Through the Gagg...

Waterford Early Learning, Reading, Math & Science

( Waterford Early Learning Cloud can be used at home or to supplement lessons in classrooms. It can also be used for individual adap...

NetSupport School

( The latest version of NetSupport School allows teachers to monitor and collaborate with any mix of technology. An enhanced ...


( TechSmith’s Camtasia gives teachers the tools to record lessons, create videos, and engage their audiences. Educato...

Panasonic 3E

( Intel has teamed up with Panasonic to announce the Panasonic 3E, which uses the Intel Education 2-in-1 reference design. Designed ...