Supporting ELLs in Mathematics
The goal of these materials is to illustrate how Common Core aligned math tasks can be used to support math instruction and language development for ELLs at three grade spans (elementary, middle, and high school). We used or adapted tasks from two publicly accessible curriculum projects, Inside Mathematics and Mathematics Assessment Project.
To learn more, see the annotated lessons below and read our Guidelines for Math Instructional Materials Development.
- Introduction to the Materials describes how the materials were developed, and the types of materials and resources provided.
- Principles for Math Instruction provide the over-arching principles for teaching mathematics to ELLs.
- Guidelines for Math Instructional Materials Development can be used to develop new materials or to review already developed materials.
- "Language of Math" Task Templates are language-focused activities that can be used by teachers to design and write their own language-focused activities. These "Language of Math” tasks were designed to support students in learning to read and understand word problems, communicate about mathematics, and build disciplinary and academic vocabulary, and develop practices in mathematics.
- Writers, Reviewers, and Contributors handout details the team who led and contributed to the development of these resources.
Additional resources can be found here.
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Annotated Math Tasks
ELEMENTARY TASK-ROGER'S RABBITS
This fourth grade (elementary school) task provides students opportunities to work with patterns and tables. Students identify whether finite sequences of numbers follow given rules and extend those sequences according to those rules. This task is annotated with suggestions for supporting ELLs, including Mathematically Speaking, a language-focused activity that asks students to solve a problem, explain their reasoning, and discuss how they arrived at their solution while using targeted vocabulary.
MIDDLE SCHOOL TASK-MAKING MATCHSTICKS
This eighth grade (middle school) task provides students opportunities to interpret a situation, represent the variables mathematically, select appropriate mathematical methods, interpret and evaluate the data generated, and communicate their reasoning. Students work with selected formulas to model a situation, interpret given data, make approximations, communicate their reasoning in verbal and written form, and critique solutions developed by others.
This task draws on understandings of rate and proportional reasoning (a CCSS focus of grades 6 and 7), geometric measurement and volume (which begins with right rectangular prisms in grade 5, and is extended in grades 6, 7, and 8), and builds toward the high school number and quantity standard of interpreting units consistently in formulas. Making Matchsticks is part of a Formative Assessment Lesson (FAL), which can be downloaded here: http://map.mathshell.org/materials/lessons.php?gradeid=23.
This task is annotated with suggestions for supporting ELLs, including Mathematically Speaking, a language focused activity that asks students to solve a problem, explain their reasoning, and discuss how they arrived at their solution while using targeted vocabulary.
HIGH SCHOOL TASK-CREATING EQUATIONS
This high school task provides students opportunities to use algebra in different ways: manipulating a given equation, writing equations to represent situations, solving equations, and interpreting solutions of equations in the situations represented.
This task is annotated with suggestions for supporting ELLs, including three language-focused activities: Jigsaw Reading, Reading and Understanding the Problem, and Mathematically Speaking. These activities were designed to support students in learning to read and understand word problems, talk about their reasoning, and discuss their solutions.
HIGH SCHOOL TASK-SIDEWALK PATTERNS
This high school task gives students an opportunity to work with expressions, equations, and functions. The task presents a sequence of three visual patterns created using white and gray blocks, and asks students to write one symbolic expression for the number of each type of blocks. Students build a function modeling a relationship between two quantities, interpret the structure of expressions, and write expressions in equivalent forms to solve problems.
This task is annotated with suggestions for supporting ELLs, including two language-focused activities: Reading and Understanding the Problem, and Mathematically Speaking. These activities were designed to support students in learning to read and understand word problems, talk about their reasoning, and discuss their solutions.