Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Major Advisor

Keith Thiede, Ph.D.


Jonathan Brendefur, Ph.D.


Sara Hagenah, Ph.D.


Margaret Mulhern, Ph.D.


The importance of fostering in students the requisite language to understand what is being communicated and how to communicate their understanding requires educators to conceptualize themselves as teachers of language and content. It is possible to engage in activities of the mathematics classroom and through that participation engage in language practices and mathematical practices simultaneously. The purpose of this study was to explore the use of semiotic resources, and modality, with a student-generated tool on students’ communication of multiplicative reasoning.

The study design was a qualitative case study that included a single third-grade class with an in-depth look at six students of varying knowledge levels. Two students, one male and one female, were randomly selected from Beyond, On, and Approaching levels. Discourse analysis served dual purposes for the data collected: first, it explored a socially constructed multi-modal tool utilized as an activity to enhance language use individually and interactively during mathematical discourse; second, it supported investigating the language used by participants during the studied activities and how they relate to Communication About and Communication In multiplication.

The findings support the utilization of semiotic resources, inclusive of visual representations, signs, symbolic notations, and receptive and expressive language elements as fundamental to the learning and communication we are asking of our students. Through the interplay of semiotic resources, a multimodal student-generated tool can support students in summarizing their learning, individually and interactively, enhancing their means of communicating discursively in mathematics.