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|Mrs. Audrey Becker: Say It With Symbols||Posted: Monday, October 15, 2012|
No matter what school you go to, what country you live in, or what textbook your reading, mathematical symbols are the same. Many of these symbols originated hundreds of years ago. Let’s consider the four main symbols used in mathematics: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Although it is thought that the plus and minus signs were used as early as the 14th century, they first appeared in a manuscript dated 1417 but the downward stroke of the plus sign was not completely vertical. Below is an image from 1526 in which these symbols first appeared in print:
The X for multiplication was first published in 1631. The dot used as a multiplication symbol appeared in the late 17th century. The division symbol also originated during that time.
Why is it important to have universal symbols for mathematics? Without symbols, how would mathematics concepts get communicated? How do you think these concepts were communicated prior to the 14th century?
|Mrs. Audrey Becker: Getting Some Information||Posted: Sunday, February 26, 2012||Discuss|
You come across informational materials in your life all of the time. You may need to get a bus map to find out how to get somewhere. You may read the warning label on some medication. You may read directions that your friend gave you to get to his house. These are all types of informational writing. Informational materials are a type of non-fiction.
In school, you read informational texts too. You may read a biography of someone you are studying in social studies. You may read a primary source like a diary entry or letter that someone wrote during a specific historical time. And every time you read a textbook, you are reading an informational book.
Informational texts usually have one of the following organizational structures: problem/ solution, cause/ effect, compare/ contrast, question/ answer. For example, a bus map would fall under the problem/ solution structure because the map solves your problem of figuring out how to get where you want to go.
Get some practice. Click on the link to see a subway map for New York City. Focus your attention on the island of Manhattan. What train line would you take to get from 137 Street City College to 66 Street Lincoln Center?
Now, gather about 5 non-fiction texts. Make sure that you have some variety. They can be maps, magazine or newspaper articles, signs, directions, captions underneath photographs, etc.
Compare the characteristics of each. What do you find in non-fiction informational materials? What organizational structures did you find? What is the style of writing in informational texts?
Now that you have studied informational texts, write your own short informational text (2-3 paragraphs). It can be about anything you want. It could be about your favorite animal or place. It could be a short biography about your favorite actor, athlete, or performer. Choose one of the organizational structures above and use the characteristics of informational texts that you found in your observation.
|Mrs. Audrey Becker: Say it Once||Posted: Sunday, February 19, 2012||Discuss|
Redundancy is when you say the same thing more than once. It is another word for repetition. Redundancies can happen when you repeat the same fact and when you add pointless explanation. An example of the second instance is the sentence:
“I am so mad at you!” John said angrily.
You do not need the word angrily because you already have the word mad in the dialogue. You can let the dialogue speak for itself.
Most writers, including some very famous ones, struggle with redundancy. Sometimes, you repeat information because you want to make sure that you get your point across. You may not trust your reader to get it by him/herself. At other times, you may repeat information by mistake or because of a lack of planning for your writing.
Why is it important to eliminate redundancy in your writing? First of all, your reader may not be as inadequate as you think – and he or she may be annoyed with you for trying to cram information down his/her throat. It also can make you seem long-winded. Your writing is most powerful when it is concise. Redundant expressions make your writing longer but not better. They weigh it down.
In our daily lives we often hear redundant expressions such as circle around, free gift, and absolutely necessary. Because we hear these incorrect expressions all of the time, it is easy to include them in our writing. Some of the most common redundancies are listed on this website. It shows the redundant phrase and a leaner, more concise version that you can use instead.
Which redundant phrases do you tend to use in your writing and what are some alternatives? What is the temptation to use these repetitious phrases? How can you try to make your writing more concise?
Can you think of something you read that had a lot of redundancy? What was your reaction to the piece?