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Thank you to Brett Meek for his informative session on Literacy in the Numeracy classroom.

Newmans Analysis



Newman’s prompts

Taken from Curriculum Support

Finding out why students make mistakes

The Australian educator Anne Newman (1977) suggested five significant prompts to help determine where errors may occur in students attempts to solve written problems. She asked students the following questions as they attempted problems.

1.       Please read the question to me. If you don’t know a word, leave it out.

2.       Tell me what the question is asking you to do.

3.       Tell me how you are going to find the answer.

4.       Show me what to do to get the answer. “Talk aloud” as you do it, so that I can understand how you are thinking.

5.       Now, write down your answer to the question.

These five questions can be used to determine why students make mistakes with written mathematics questions.

A student wishing to solve a written mathematics problem typically has to work through five basic steps:

1.Reading the problem Reading
2. Comprehending what is read Comprehension
3. Carrying out a transformation from the words of the problem to the selection of an appropriate mathematical strategy Transformation
4. Applying the process skills demanded by the selected strategy Process skills
5. Encoding the answer in an acceptable written form Encoding

The five questions the teacher asks clearly link to the five processes involved in solving a written mathematics problem.

We want to take our students from the concrete -> pictorial -> abstract. It is important to teach explicit strategies in the pictirial area.

Dan Meyer uses visual literacy in his Mathematics classroom.

Then….. just for fun!

A fabulous website with random mathematics pictures designed to start a conversation:

Finally some excellent websites for you to look at:


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