Almost twenty years ago, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) published Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (2000), which recommended that teachers should incorporate more writing into their math lessons, claiming that writing helps students “consolidate their thinking” (p. 402) by causing them to reflect on their work. In recent years, various studies point to the many benefits that can be gained by writing in mathematics class (e.g., O'Connell et al. 2005; Goldsby and Cozza 2002). Much research suggests that writing activities, if implemented effectively, can help students enjoy class more (Burns 2005) and can also help them deepen their understanding of the content (Baxter et al. 2002). In addition to benefiting students, student writing benefits teachers as well by providing a clear picture of what their students understand and even deepening understanding of the content for teachers themselves (Burns 2005; Pugalee 1997).
Matt M. Bixby, firstname.lastname@example.org, teaches secondary mathematics at Challenge School in Denver, Colorado, and also founded Colorado Math Camp, which prepares students for MATHCOUNTS and other math competitions. He is passionate about helping students to develop their problem–solving ability and express their mathematical reasoning.