When I was growing up, math and English were considered two different topics with absolutely no relationship. Teachers did not try to connect the two. We didn't have to explain anything, just get the write answer for the problem.
Even recently, when our students are expected to explain their thinking, it is hard to know how to teach students to do this when often teachers do not know how to model their own thinking.
I came a cross a great presentation in which the person actually relates student learning from English to math. It shows how these terms apply in math.
In English students are expected to identify the main characters and setting, find the main idea, implied main idea, and supporting details. They need to make inferences, draw conclusions, and summarize. If I told you math uses the same skills, most people would laugh their heads off and disagree. My students would try to commit me to the local loony bin but I assure you, it can be done.
Word Problems in math contain all the information so you can do the same things:
Example 1. Peter took Jen to the movie theater to see the latest Star Wars movie in 3D. Tickets cost $14.00 each. How much change did Peter receive if he paid with a $50 Bill.
The characters are Peter and Jen. The setting is a movie theater.
Example 2. John is replacing tiles in his entryway with 1 foot by 1 foot white tiles. If his entry way is 6 feet by 8 feet, how many tiles will he need?
The main idea he is having to tile an area so this is an area problem.
Example 3. Joe and four friends went to the movies last Friday night. Each ticket was $7.50 each, how much did they pay for all the tickets.
This reference uses inference because they have to infer that Joe is included in buying tickets so 5 tickets are purchased, not 4.
This is cool. It is the first time I have ever seen someone who connected reading standards to word problems in math. It adds a new dimension to interpreting word problems.
Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear.