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The Strategy Bank is designed to be a resource to connect mathematics with best-practice reading and writing strategies. These strategies have been utilized by teachers to help students understand key mathematical concepts and vocabulary. These strategies have been collected from a variety of sources and have been utilized in the K-12 and college level classroom. The strategies are desgined to activate prior knowledge, build vocabulary knowledge, and improve reading comprehension. Each of the strategies below includes a blank template and an example.

You may also access the four writing templates (word)

This project is supported through the by the Wisconsin Improving Teacher Quality Grant #09-0531.

Frayer Model

This graphic organizer can help students develop an understanding of a new concept word.  Students are asked to provide a Definition of the word, Facts or Characteristics of the word, Examples, and Nonexamples. This graphic organizer helps students connect the concept word to their personal experiences, as well as helps them develop a pictoral representation of the chosen word.

Blank Template (word)

Student Geometry Example (word)

Student Algebra Example (word)

Tic Tac Toe Frayer Model (word)

Concept of Definition Map

This graphic organizer is also a good tool to help teach key vocabulary, especially those focused on broad concepts such as area, division, or slope. In this graphic organizer students are asked to identify what the concept is (What it is?), discover major properties of the concept (What it is like?), and provide examples or illustration for the concept (What does it look like?  These visual representations also provide students with a meaningful association of the selected concepts.

Blank Template (word)

Student Subtraction Example (word)




Compare and Contrast Map

The use of this type of graphic organizer provides students with a structure to write about the similarities and differences between mathematical concepts, procedures, and vocabulary terms. It allows students to discuss connections among concepts such as area and perimeter.

Blank Template (word)

Student Measurement Example (jpeg)

Anticipation Guide

An Anticipation Guide is a before reading strategy that is designed to activate a student’s prior knowledge and increase student interest and motivation by setting a purpose for reading mathematics text. It often includes 5-10 statements about a specific content area that students will be exploring. Students read these statements and determine if they agree or disagree with each statement. After reading the text or after instruction on the content, students are asked to change or revise any of their answers if they have learned something new. Students are then asked to re-write any of the statements that they disagree with in order to make them true.

Blank Template (word)

Pythagorean Theorem Example (word)

GIST Reading Strategy

In reading expository texts, the goal of the GIST strategy is for students to list the main points of a passage and then to use this as an outline to write a summary statement in 20 words or less. This strategy not only helps students identify the main ideas embedded in the text, but it also requires students to eliminate extraneous information.

Student Place Value Example(word)




GIST Problem Solving Strategy

In this modification of the GIST Strategy, students identify 12 or few key words or procedures that are necessary to solve the selected task. Once these words or procedures have been identified, students are asked to solve the task. Students can be prompted to use their GIST list as a word bank to explain in writing how they solved the problem. This strategy can be combined with sequential writing sentence starters (First I…Then I…Next I…Finally I…) to support the writing of a constructed response.

Blank Template (word)

Student Example (word)

Poem in Two Voices

A Poem in Two Voices can be used to have students creatively discuss and write about similarities and differences in concepts, procedures, or mathematical vocabulary. Typically, students write this type of poetry in two columns with commonly spoken phrases or sentences written in the middle of the columns.

Student Polygon Example (jpeg)


The RAFT strategy challenges students to demonstrate understanding by assuming a Role and writing to a pre-determined Audience. Students are directed to write using a given Format about a Topic. A RAFT allows for differentiated instruction because students get choice in their assignment based on their interest.

Student Polygon Example (jpeg)

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