Spring 2017



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Julia Reimer

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Mary Willms-Wohlwend

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Steve Wicht


The research questions addressed in this classroom study were, after explicit instruction, do students choose language structures inherent to procedural recounts, such as technical verb processes, precise nouns, sequence words and causal phrases to describe their mathematical thinking? Additionally, do student self-perceptions of their mathematical abilities change after learning to write procedural recounts to describe their thinking processes? This study examined the use of these language structures prior to explicit instruction in writing procedural recounts and compared it to post-intervention writing samples. The author documents the use of these writing structures by participants before and after intervention and finds relational patterns in the data. As technical verb usage increased, common sense verbs decreased; as causal phrases increased, sequencing words decreased. Additionally, participants responded to a self-reflection questionnaire in order to gauge how self-perception of conceptual understanding changes after instruction and practice in writing procedural recounts in math. EL participant responses revealed a slight increase in conceptual understanding. This study gives insight into incorporating language development instruction, specifically writing procedural recounts, into a secondary math curriculum and further asks if short-term changes in writing to describe thinking processes occurs, what might be the long-term implications for students when taught writing skills in the mathematics classroom.

Research Methodology

Action Research, Survey (attitude scale, opinion, questionnaire), pre-post intervention data collection