Supporting English-language Learners

Overview

This curriculum builds on foundational principles for supporting language development for all students. This section aims to provide guidance to help teachers recognize and support students' language development in the context of mathematical sense-making. Embedded within the curriculum are instructional supports and practices to help teachers address the specialized academic language demands in math when planning and delivering lessons, including the demands of reading, writing, speaking, listening, conversing, and representing in math (Aguirre & Bunch, 2012). Therefore, while these instructional supports and practices can and should be used to support all students learning mathematics, they are particularly well-suited to meet the needs of linguistically and culturally diverse students who are learning mathematics while simultaneously acquiring English.

This table reflects the attention and support for language development at each level of the curriculum.

COURSE

  • foundation of curriculum: theory of action and design principles that drive a continuous focus on language development
  • student glossary of terms

UNIT

  • unit-specific progression of language development included in each unit overview

LESSON

  • language goals embedded in learning goals describe the language demands of the lesson
  • definitions of new glossary terms

ACTIVITY

  • additional supports for English language learners based on language demands of the activity
  • math language routines

Theory of Action

We believe that language development can be built into teachers’ instructional practice and students’ classroom experience through intentional design of materials, teacher commitments, administrative support, and professional development. Our theory of action is grounded in the interdependence of language learning and content learning, the importance of scaffolding routines that foster students’ independent participation, the value of instructional responsiveness in the teaching process, and the central role of student agency in the learning process.

Mathematical understandings and language competence develop interdependently. Deep conceptual learning is gained through language. Ideas take shape through words, texts, illustrations, conversations, debates, examples, etc. Teachers, peers, and texts serve as language resources for learning. Instructional attention to academic language development, historically limited to vocabulary instruction, has now shifted to also include instruction around the demands of argumentation, explanation, generalization, analyzing the purpose and structure of text, and other mathematical discourse.

Scaffolding provides temporary supports that foster student autonomy. Learners with emerging language—at any level—can engage deeply with central mathematical ideas under specific instructional conditions. Mathematical language development occurs when students use their developing language to make meaning and engage with challenging problems that are beyond students’ mathematical ability to solve independently and therefore require interaction with peers. However, these interactions should be structured with temporary supports that students can use to make sense of what is being asked of them, to help organize their own thinking, and to give and receive feedback.

Instruction supports learning when teachers respond to students’ verbal and written work. Eliciting student thinking through language allows teachers and students to respond formatively to the language students generate. Formative peer and teacher feedback creates opportunities for revision and refinement of both content understandings and language.

Students are agents in their own mathematical and linguistic sense-making. Mathematical language proficiency is developed through the process of actively exploring and learning mathematics. Language is action: in the very doing of math, students have naturally occurring opportunities to need, learn, and notice mathematical ways of making sense and talking about ideas and the world. These experiences support learners in using as well as expanding their existing language toolkits.

Design

The framework for supporting English language learners (ELLs) in this curriculum includes four design principles for promoting mathematical language use and development in curriculum and instruction. The design principles and related routines work to make language development an integral part of planning and delivering instruction while guiding teachers to amplify the most important language that students are expected to bring to bear on the central mathematical ideas of each unit.

Principle 1: SUPPORT SENSE-MAKING

Scaffold tasks and amplify language so students can make their own meaning. Students do not need to understand a language completely before they can engage with academic content in that language. Language learners of all levels can and should engage with grade-level content that is appropriately scaffolded. Students need multiple opportunities to talk about their mathematical thinking, negotiate meaning with others, and collaboratively solve problems with targeted guidance from the teacher.

Teachers can make language more accessible for students by amplifying rather than simplifying speech or text. Simplifying includes avoiding the use of challenging words or phrases. Amplifying means anticipating where students might need support in understanding concepts or mathematical terms, and providing multiple ways to access them. Providing visuals or manipulatives, demonstrating problem-solving, engaging in think-alouds, and creating analogies, synonyms, or context are all ways to amplify language so that students are supported in taking an active role in their own sense-making of mathematical relationships, processes, concepts, and terms.

Principle 2: OPTIMIZE OUTPUT

Strengthen opportunities and supports for students to describe their mathematical thinking to others, orally, visually, and in writing. Linguistic output is the language that students use to communicate their ideas to others (oral, written, visual, etc.), and refers to all forms of student linguistic expressions except those that include significant back-and-forth negotiation of ideas. (That type of conversational language is addressed in the third principle.) All students benefit from repeated, strategically optimized, and supported opportunities to articulate mathematical ideas into linguistic expression.

Opportunities for students to produce output should be strategically optimized for both (a) important concepts of the unit or course, and (b) important disciplinary language functions (for example, making conjectures and claims, justifying claims with evidence, explaining reasoning, critiquing the reasoning of others, making generalizations, and comparing approaches and representations). The focus for optimization must be determined, in part, by how students are currently using language to engage with important disciplinary concepts. When opportunities to produce output are optimized in these ways, students will get spiraled practice in making their thinking about important mathematical concepts stronger with more robust reasoning and examples, and making their thinking clearer with more precise language and visuals.

Principle 3: CULTIVATE CONVERSATION

Strengthen opportunities and supports for constructive mathematical conversations (pairs, groups, and whole class). Conversations are back-and-forth interactions with multiple turns that build up ideas about math. Conversations act as scaffolds for students developing mathematical language because they provide opportunities to simultaneously make meaning, communicate that meaning, and refine the way content understandings are communicated.

When students have a purpose for talking and listening to each other, communication is more authentic. During effective discussions, students pose and answer questions, clarify what is being asked and what is happening in a problem, build common understandings, and share experiences relevant to the topic. As mentioned in Principle 2, learners must be supported in their use of language, including when having conversations, making claims, justifying claims with evidence, making conjectures, communicating reasoning, critiquing the reasoning of others, engaging in other mathematical practices, and above all when making mistakes. Meaningful conversations depend on the teacher using lessons and activities as opportunities to build a classroom culture that motivates and values efforts to communicate.

Principle 4: MAXIMIZE META-AWARENESS

Strengthen the meta-connections and distinctions between mathematical ideas, reasoning, and language. Language is a tool that not only allows students to communicate their math understanding to others, but also to organize their own experiences, ideas, and learning for themselves. Meta-awareness is consciously thinking about one's own thought processes or language use. Meta-awareness develops when students and teachers engage in classroom activities or discussions that bring explicit attention to what students need to do to improve communication and reasoning about mathematical concepts. When students are using language in ways that are purposeful and meaningful for themselves, in their efforts to understand—and be understood by—each other, they are motivated to attend to ways in which language can be both clarified and clarifying.

Meta-awareness in students can be strengthened when, for example, teachers ask students to explain to each other the strategies they brought to bear to solve a challenging problem. They might be asked, “How does yesterday’s method connect with the method we are learning today?” or, “What ideas are still confusing to you?” These questions are metacognitive because they help students to reflect on their own and others’ learning. Students can also reflect on their expanding use of language—for example, by comparing the language they used to clarify a mathematical concept with the language used by their peers in a similar situation. This is called metalinguistic awareness because students reflect on English as a language, their own growing use of that language, and the particular ways ideas are communicated in mathematics. Students learning English benefit from being aware of how language choices are related to the purpose of the task and the intended audience, especially if oral or written work is required. Both metacognitive and metalinguistic awareness are powerful tools to help students self-regulate their academic learning and language acquisition.

These four principles are guides for curriculum development, as well as for planning and execution of instruction, including the structure and organization of interactive opportunities for students. They also serve as guides for and observation, analysis, and reflection on student language and learning. The design principles motivate the use of mathematical language routines, described in detail below, with examples. The eight routines included in this curriculum are:

  • MLR 1: Stronger and Clearer Each Time
  • MLR 2: Collect and Display
  • MLR 3: Clarify, Critique, Correct
  • MLR 4: Information Gap
  • MLR 5: Co-Craft Questions
  • MLR 6: Three Reads
  • MLR 7: Compare and Connect
  • MLR 8: Discussion Supports

When support beyond existing strategies embedded in the curriculum is required, additional supports for English language learners offer instructional strategies for teachers to meet the individual needs of a diverse group of learners. Lesson- and activity-level supports for English language learners stem from the design principles and are aligned to the language domains of reading, writing, speaking, listening, conversing, and representing in math (Aguirre & Bunch, 2012). These lesson-specific supports provide students with access to the mathematics by supporting them with the language demands of a specific activity without reducing the mathematical demand of the task. Using these supports will help maintain student engagement in mathematical discourse and ensure that the struggle remains productive. All of the supports are designed to be used as needed, and use should be faded out as students develop understanding and fluency with the English language. Teachers should use their professional judgment about which supports to use and when, based on their knowledge of the individual needs of students in their classroom.

Example of an ELL Support Box from the Curriculum:

E L L support box example

A teacher who notices that students' written responses could get stronger and clearer with more opportunity to revise their writing could use this support to provide students with multiple opportunities to gain additional input, through direct and indirect feedback from their peers.

Based on their observations of student language, teachers can make adjustments to their teaching and provide additional language support where necessary. Teachers can select from the Supports for English language learners provided in the curriculum as appropriate. When selecting from these supports, teachers should take into account the language demands of the specific activity and the language needed to engage the content more broadly, in relation to their students’ current ways of using language to communicate ideas as well as their students’ English language proficiency.

Mathematical Language Routines

The mathematical language routines were selected because they are effective and practical for simultaneously learning mathematical practices, content, and language. A mathematical language routine is a structured but adaptable format for amplifying, assessing, and developing students' language. The routines emphasize uses of language that is meaningful and purposeful, rather than about just getting answers. These routines can be adapted and incorporated across lessons in each unit to fit the mathematical work wherever there are productive opportunities to support students in using and improving their English and disciplinary language use.

These routines facilitate attention to student language in ways that support in-the-moment teacher-, peer-, and self-assessment. The feedback enabled by these routines will help students revise and refine not only the way they organize and communicate their own ideas, but also ask questions to clarify their understandings of others’ ideas.

Mathematical Language Routine 1: Stronger and Clearer Each Time

Adapted from Zwiers (2014)

Purpose

To provide a structured and interactive opportunity for students to revise and refine both their ideas and their verbal and written output (Zwiers, 2014). This routine also provides a purpose for student conversation through the use of a discussion-worthy and iteration-worthy prompt. The main idea is to have students think and write individually about a question, use a structured pairing strategy to have multiple opportunities to refine and clarify their response through conversation, and then finally revise their original written response. Subsequent conversations and second drafts should naturally show evidence of incorporating or addressing new ideas and language. They should also show evidence of refinement in precision, communication, expression, examples, and reasoning about mathematical concepts.

How it Happens

Prompt: This routine begins by providing a thought-provoking question or prompt. The prompt should guide students to think about a concept or big idea connected to the content goal of the lesson, and should be answerable in a format that is connected with the activity’s primary disciplinary language function.

Response - First Draft: Students draft an initial response to the prompt by writing or drawing their initial thoughts in a first draft. Responses should attempt to align with the activity’s primary language function. It is not necessary that students finish this draft before moving to the structured pair meetings step. However, students should be encouraged to write or draw something before meeting with a partner. This encouragement can come over time as class culture is developed, strategies and supports for getting started are shared, and students become more comfortable with the low stakes of this routine. (2–3 min)

Structured Pair Meetings: Next, use a structured pairing strategy to facilitate students having 2–3 meetings with different partners. Each meeting gives each partner an opportunity to be the speaker and an opportunity to be the listener. As the speaker, each student shares their ideas (without looking at their first draft, when possible). As a listener, each student should (a) ask questions for clarity and reasoning, (b) press for details and examples, and (c) give feedback that is relevant for the language goal. (1–2 min each meeting)

Response - Second Draft: Finally, after meeting with 2–3 different partners, students write a second draft. This draft should naturally reflect borrowed ideas from partners, as well as refinement of initial ideas through repeated communication with partners. This second draft will be stronger (with more or better evidence of mathematical content understanding) and clearer (more precision, organization, and features of disciplinary language function). After students are finished, their first and second drafts can be compared. (2–3 min)

Mathematical Language Routine 2: Collect and Display

Purpose

To capture a variety of students’ oral words and phrases into a stable, collective reference. The intent of this routine is to stabilize the varied and fleeting language in use during mathematical work, in order for students’ own output to become a reference in developing mathematical language. The teacher listens for, and scribes, the language students use during partner, small group, or whole class discussions using written words, diagrams and pictures. This collected output can be organized, revoiced, or explicitly connected to other language in a display that all students can refer to, build on, or make connections with during future discussion or writing. Throughout the course of a unit (and beyond), teachers can reference the displayed language as a model, update and revise the display as student language changes, and make bridges between prior student language and new disciplinary language (Dieckman, 2017). This routine provides feedback for students in a way that supports sense-making while simultaneously increasing meta-awareness of language.

How it happens

Collect: During this routine, circulate and listen to student talk during paired, group, or as a whole-class discussion. Jot down the words, phrases, drawings, or writing students use. Capture a variety of uses of language that can be connected to the lesson content goals, as well as the relevant disciplinary language function(s). Collection can happen digitally, or with a clipboard, or directly onto poster paper; capturing on a whiteboard is not recommended due to risk of erasure.

Display: Display the language collected visually for the whole class to use as a reference during further discussions throughout the lesson and unit. Encourage students to suggest revisions, updates, and connections be added to the display as they develop—over time—both new mathematical ideas and new ways of communicating ideas. The display provides an opportunity to showcase connections between student ideas and new vocabulary. It also provides opportunity to highlight examples of students using disciplinary language functions, beyond just vocabulary words.

Mathematical Language Routine 3: Clarify, Critique, Correct

Purpose

To give students a piece of mathematical writing that is not their own to analyze, reflect on, and develop. The intent is to prompt student reflection with an incorrect, incomplete, or ambiguous written mathematical statement, and for students to improve upon the written work by correcting errors and clarifying meaning. Teachers can demonstrate how to effectively and respectfully critique the work of others with meta-think-alouds and pressing for details when necessary. This routine fortifies output and engages students in meta-awareness. More than just error analysis, this routine purposefully engages students in considering both the author’s mathematical thinking as well as the features of their communication.

How it happens

Original Statement: Create or curate a written mathematical statement that intentionally includes conceptual (or common) errors in mathematical thinking as well as ambiguities in language. The mathematical errors should be driven by the content goals of the lesson and the language ambiguities should be driven by common or typical challenges with the relevant disciplinary language function. This mathematical text is read by the students and used as the draft, or “original statement,” that students improve. (1–2 min)

Discussion with Partner: Next, students discuss the original statement in pairs. The teacher provides guiding questions for this discussion such as, “What do you think the author means?,” “Is anything unclear?,” or “Are there any reasoning errors?” In addition to these general guiding questions, 1–2 questions can be added that specifically address the content goals and disciplinary language function relevant to the activity. (2–3 min)

Improved Statement: Students individually revise the original statement, drawing on the conversations with their partners, to create an “improved statement.” In addition to resolving any mathematical errors or misconceptions, clarifying ambiguous language, other requirements can be added as parameters for the improved response. These specific requirements should be aligned with the content goals and disciplinary language function of the activity. (3–5 min)

Mathematical Language Routine 4: Information Gap

Adapted from Zwiers 2004

Purpose

To create a need for students to communicate (Gibbons, 2002). This routine allows teachers to facilitate meaningful interactions by positioning some students as holders of information that is needed by other students. The information is needed to accomplish a goal, such as solving a problem or winning a game. With an information gap, students need to orally (or visually) share ideas and information in order to bridge a gap and accomplish something that they could not have done alone. Teachers should demonstrate how to ask for and share information, how to justify a request for information, and how to clarify and elaborate on information. This routine cultivates conversation.

How it happens

Problem/Data Cards: Students are paired into Partner A and Partner B. Partner A is given a card with a problem that must be solved, and Partner B has the information needed to solve it on a “data card.” Data cards can also contain diagrams, tables, graphs, etc. Neither partner should read nor show their cards to their partners. Partner A determines what information they need, and prepares to ask Partner B for that specific information. Partner B should not share the information unless Partner A specifically asks for it and justifies the need for the information. Because partners don’t have the same information, Partner A must work to produce clear and specific requests, and Partner B must work to understand more about the problem through Partner A’s requests and justifications.

Bridging the Gap

  • Partner B asks “What specific information do you need?” Partner A asks for specific information from Partner B.
  • Before sharing the requested information, Partner B asks Partner A for a justification: “Why do you need that information?”
  • Partner A explains how they plan to use the information.
  • Partner B asks clarifying questions as needed, and then provides the information.
  • These four steps are repeated until Partner A is satisfied that they have information they need to solve the problem.

Solving the Problem

  • Partner A shares the problem card with Partner B. Partner B does not share the data card.
  • Both students solve the problem independently, then discuss their strategies. Partner B can share the data card after discussing their independent strategies.

Mathematical Language Routine 5: Co-craft Questions

Purpose

To allow students to get inside of a context before feeling pressure to produce answers, to create space for students to produce the language of mathematical questions themselves, and to provide opportunities for students to analyze how different mathematical forms and symbols can represent different situations. Through this routine, students are able to use conversation skills to generate, choose (argue for the best one), and improve questions and situations as well as develop meta-awareness of the language used in mathematical questions and problems.

How it happens

Hook: Begin by presenting students with a hook—a context or a stem for a problem, with or without values included. The hook can also be a picture, video, or list of interesting facts.

Students Write Questions: Next, students write down possible mathematical questions that might be asked about the situation. These should be questions that they think are answerable by doing math and could be questions about the situation, information that might be missing, and even about assumptions that they think are important. (1–2 minutes)

Students Compare Questions: Students compare the questions they generated with a partner (1–2 minutes) before sharing questions with the whole class. Demonstrate (or ask students to demonstrate) identifying specific questions that are aligned to the content goals of the lesson as well as the disciplinary language function. If there are no clear examples, teachers can demonstrate adapting a question or ask students to adapt questions to align with specific content or function goals. (2–3 minutes)

Actual Question(s) Revealed/Identified: Finally, the actual questions students are expected to work on are revealed or selected from the list that students generated.

Mathematical Language Routine 6: Three Reads

Purpose

To ensure that students know what they are being asked to do, create opportunities for students to reflect on the ways mathematical questions are presented, and equip students with tools used to actively make sense of mathematical situations and information (Kelemanik, Lucenta, & Creighton, 2016). This routine supports reading comprehension, sense-making, and meta-awareness of mathematical language. It also supports negotiating information in a text with a partner through mathematical conversation.

How it happens

In this routine, students are supported in reading a mathematical text, situation, or word problem three times, each with a particular focus. The intended question or main prompt is intentionally withheld until the third read so that students can concentrate on making sense of what is happening in the text before rushing to a solution or method.

Read #1: Shared Reading (one person reads aloud while everyone else reads with them) The first read focuses on the situation, context, or main idea of the text. After a shared reading, ask students “what is this situation about?” This is the time to identify and resolve any challenges with any non-mathematical vocabulary. (1 minute)

Read #2: Individual, Pairs, or Shared Reading After the second read, students list any quantities that can be counted or measured. Students are encouraged not to focus on specific values. Instead they focus on naming what is countable or measurable in the situation. It is not necessary to discuss the relevance of the quantities, just to be specific about them (examples: “number of people in her family” rather than “people,” “number of markers after” instead of “markers”). Some of the quantities will be explicit (example: 32 apples) while others are implicit (example: the time it takes to brush one tooth). Record the quantities as a reference to use when solving the problem after the third read. (3–5 minutes)

Read #3: Individual, Pairs, or Shared Reading During the third read, the final question or prompt is revealed. Students discuss possible solution strategies, referencing the relevant quantities recorded after the second read. It may be helpful for students to create diagrams to represent the relationships among quantities identified in the second read, or to represent the situation with a picture (Asturias, 2014). (1–2 minutes).

Mathematical Language Routine 7: Compare and Connect

Purpose

To foster students’ meta-awareness as they identify, compare, and contrast different mathematical approaches and representations. This routine leverages the powerful mix of disciplinary representations available in mathematics as a resource for language development. In this routine, students make sense of mathematical strategies other than their own by relating and connecting other approaches to their own. Students should be prompted to reflect on, and linguistically respond to, these comparisons (for example, exploring why or when one might do or say something a certain way, identifying and explaining correspondences between different mathematical representations or methods, or wondering how a certain concept compares or connects to other concepts). Be sure to demonstrate asking questions that students can ask each other, rather than asking questions to “test” understanding. Use think alouds to demonstrate the trial and error, or fits and starts of sense-making (similar to the way teachers think aloud to demonstrate reading comprehension). This routine supports metacognition and metalinguistic awareness, and also supports constructive conversations.

How it Happens

Students Prepare Displays of their Work: Students are given a problem that can be approached and solved using multiple strategies, or a situation that can be modeled using multiple representations. Students are assigned the job of preparing a visual display of how they made sense of the problem and why their solution makes sense. Variation is encouraged and supported among the representations that different students use to show what makes sense.

Compare: Students investigate each others’ work by taking a tour of the visual displays. Tours can be self-guided, a “travellers and tellers” format, or the teacher can act as “docent” by providing questions for students to ask of each other, pointing out important mathematical features, and facilitating comparisons. Comparisons focus on the typical structures, purposes, and affordances of the different approaches or representations: what worked well in this or that approach, or what is especially clear in this or that representation. During this discussion, listen for and amplify any comments about what might make this or that approach or representation more complete or easy to understand.

Connect: The discussion then turns to identifying correspondences between different representations. Students are prompted to find correspondences in how specific mathematical relationships, operations, quantities, or values appear in each approach or representation. Guide students to refer to each other’s thinking by asking them to make connections between specific features of expressions, tables, graphs, diagrams, words, and other representations of the same mathematical situation. During the discussion, amplify language students use to communicate about mathematical features that are important for solving the problem or modeling the situation. Call attention to the similarities and differences between the ways those features appear.

Mathematical Language Routine 8: Discussion Supports

Purpose

To support rich and inclusive discussions about mathematical ideas, representations, contexts, and strategies (Chapin, O’Connor, & Anderson, 2009). Rather than another structured format, the examples provided in this routine are instructional moves that can be combined and used together with any of the other routines. They include multimodal strategies for helping students make sense of complex language, ideas, and classroom communication. The examples can be used to invite and incentivize more student participation, conversation, and meta-awareness of language. Eventually, as teachers continue to demonstrate, students should begin using these strategies themselves to prompt each other to engage more deeply in discussions.

How it Happens

Unlike the other routines, this support is a collection of strategies and moves that can be combined and used to support discussion during almost any activity.

Examples of possible strategies:

  • Revoice student ideas to demonstrate mathematical language use by restating a statement as a question in order to clarify, apply appropriate language, and involve more students.
  • Press for details in students’ explanations by requesting for students to challenge an idea, elaborate on an idea, or give an example.
  • Show central concepts multi-modally by using different types of sensory inputs: acting out scenarios or inviting students to do so, showing videos or images, using gesture, and talking about the context of what is happening.
  • Practice phrases or words through choral response.
  • Think aloud by talking through thinking about a mathematical concept while solving a related problem or doing a task.
  • Demonstrate uses of disciplinary language functions such as detailing steps, describing and justifying reasoning, and questioning strategies.
  • Give students time to make sure that everyone in the group can explain or justify each step or part of the problem. Then make sure to vary who is called on to represent the work of the group so students get accustomed to preparing each other to fill that role.
  • Prompt students to think about different possible audiences for the statement, and about the level of specificity or formality needed for for a classmate vs. a mathematician, for example. [Convince Yourself, Convince a Friend, Convince a Skeptic (Mason, Burton, & Stacey, 2010)]

Sentence Frames

Sentence frames can support student language production by providing a structure to communicate about a topic. Helpful sentence frames are open-ended, so as to amplify language production, not constrain it. The table shows examples of generic sentence frames that can support common disciplinary language functions across a variety of content topics. Some of the lessons in these materials include suggestions of additional sentence frames that could support the specific content and language functions of that lesson.

language function

sample sentence frames

describe

  • It looks like…
  • I notice that…
  • I wonder if…
  • Let’s try...
  • A quantity that varies is _____.
  • What do you notice?
  • What other details are important?

explain

  • First, I _____ because…
  • Then/Next, I...
  • I noticed _____ so I...
  • I tried _____ and what happened was...
  • How did you get…?
  • What else could we do?

justify

  • I know _____ because...
  • I predict _____ because…
  • If _____ then _____ because…
  • Why did you…?
  • How do you know…?
  • Can you give an example?

generalize

  • _____ reminds me of _____ because…
  • _____ will always _____ because…
  • _____ will never _____ because…
  • Is it always true that…?
  • Is _____ a special case?

critique

  • That could/couldn’t be true because…
  • This method works/doesn’t work because…
  • We can agree that...
  • _____’s idea reminds me of…
  • Another strategy would be _____ because…
  • Is there another way to say/do...?

compare and contrast

  • Both _____ and _____ are alike because…
  • _____ and _____ are different because…
  • One thing that is the same is…
  • One thing that is different is…
  • How are _____ and _____ different?
  • What do _____ and _____ have in common?

represent

  • _____ represents _____.
  • _____ stands for _____.
  • _____ corresponds to _____.
  • Another way to show _____ is…
  • How else could we show this?

interpret

  • We are trying to...
  • We will need to know...
  • We already know…
  • It looks like _____ represents...
  • Another way to look at it is…
  • What does this part of _____ mean?
  • Where does _____ show...?

References

Aguirre, J. M. & Bunch, G. C. (2012). What’s language got to do with it?: Identifying language demands in mathematics instruction for English language learners. In S. Celedón-Pattichis & N. Ramirez (Eds.), Beyond good teaching: Advancing mathematics education for ELLs. (pp. 183-194). Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Chapin, S., O’Connor, C., & Anderson, N. (2009). Classroom discussions: Using math talk to help students learn, grades K-6 (second edition). Sausalito, CA: Math Solutions Publications.

Gibbons, P. (2002). Scaffolding language, scaffolding learning: Teaching second language learners in the mainstream classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Kelemanik, G, Lucenta, A & Creighton, S.J. (2016). Routines for reasoning: Fostering the mathematical practices in all students. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Zwiers, J. (2011). Academic conversations: Classroom talk that fosters critical thinking and content understandings.  Portland, ME: Stenhouse

Zwiers, J. (2014). Building academic language: Meeting Common Core Standards across disciplines, grades 5–12 (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Zwiers, J., Dieckmann, J., Rutherford-Quach, S., Daro, V., Skarin, R., Weiss, S., & Malamut, J. (2017). Principles for the design of mathematics curricula: Promoting language and content development. Retrieved from Stanford University, UL/SCALE website: http://ell.stanford.edu/content/mathematics-resources-additional-resources