I had a goal to have my students write more in math class this year, without making writing such a big deal. When students hear that they are writing in math, their responses range from disbelief to outright indignation. "Why are we writing in math?! This isn't English."

So I try to sneak it in their when possible.

I did this activity with my students at the end of the year--really the last few weeks of school, after STAAR testing was over. I was pleasantly surprised how engaged they were and I am excited to try it again next year when summer isn't on everyone's mind.

In this activity, we start by playing Two Truths and a Lie-- the get to know you game. This can work at anytime of the year as students always like sharing things about themselves. I first share two truths and one lie about myself (this is how I announced my pregnancy to my students last year) so students know what to do. Then, I give each student a post-it and ask them to write Two truths and one lie about themselves then they share with their group and the other students guess what is the lie.

I spent about 10 minutes on this part. It gets students talking to each other and excited about class. This way when they go into the activity they are smiling and laughing instead of depressed that they have to writing.

Then I explain we are going to do Two Truths and a Lie-- The Math Version. Each group is given a sheet of paper with a graphic or word problem on it. There are 2-3 students per group, so I will have about 12 different papers distributed around the room. The group is then asked to write two truths and one lie about the graphic or word problem.

I did model this for my students before I passed out the papers. I asked them to dig deep and come up with something profound--not something like there are two dots on this graph. I was happy that some students voluntarily did computation as their truths and then wrote a sentence about it instead of just stating facts they could see without computation.

After all groups had their two truths and a lie written down, I gave each student 4 post-its and asked them to find the lies on 4 other papers. I asked them to write a sentence about why it was a lie instead of just stating "Number 2 is a lie."

In the process, students found that some papers had two lies or that there weren't any lies at all--either students didn't follow instructions, or they had made a mistake.

Here are some students papers after the activity.

This activity can be made easily-- you can take pictures of graphics in textbooks, worksheets, make your own graphics, etc. You can have the whole activity be centered around one concept, or a review of several concepts.

I have a FREE sample of what I used in my classroom--it is appropriate for grade levels 6-8.

Here is my first completed activity focused on one topic--Geometry. This has 21 pages of graphics that will prompt students to write about triangle properties, area of polygons, and volume of rectangular prisms. There are two versions--one with just the graphics and the other with two truths and a lie already written for students to choose from.

Wow! What a great idea. So simple, but it will tell you so much about your students.

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