I really don't like writing on weekends but I wanted to talk about way's I've been increasing my students critical thinking skills and improving their English. About half of my students are classified ELL (English Language Learners) and they often have trouble distinguishing the differences in word meanings among common conversation, specialized usage and slang. One way I increase their understanding of definitions is to do vocabulary exercises where when students define words, we put the mathematical definition, the common usage, and slang if it applies.
AT the beginning of the year, I would use at least one open ended question such as choose 3 different numbers and two different operations to equal -4. This shows students that not all mathematical questions have only one answer. This week. I put up general questions and had the students write the question.
1. Write a word problem based on the rate x time = distance formula from here to a certain village.
2. Write a word sentence or problem using the word ratio, 4, 1/3
3. Write your own "Which one does not belong?"
These types of questions help improve mathematical vocabulary and thinking.