By Teachers, For Teachers
Teachers across the country have increasing numbers of English language learners (ELLs) in their classrooms. As a result, teachers need strategies that will help them reach all of their students and ensure that students learn what they need to know.
Many lessons in existing curricula are designed for native speakers of English and do not support second language acquisition. This is particularly true for math instruction. Students need specific vocabulary to talk about and do math.
ELLs are still learning the language in which the problems and directions are written; they are learning new math skills and a new language at the same time.
What instructional math goals should I have for my ELL students?
Students who are still learning English need instruction in vocabulary to help them understand new math concepts. Exposure to the language of mathematics will help them learn to talk about and write about what they are learning in math.
How do specific strategies help ELL students learn math skills?
Instructional strategies that focus on math and language skills support ELL students as they become proficient in English. Support in students’ primary language skills helps them develop an understanding of math concepts in English. Effective teaching strategies engage students and help them learn.
Develop a supportive learning environment and engage your students in mathematics.
**TeachHUB Recommendation: Enhance your school's ELL instruction with in-service professional development training.**
Support ELL students during direct instruction.
Sentence Stem Examples
Each of these problems has ______________________________.
The strategy I used to solve this problem was _________________.
Another way I could solve this problem is ______________.
I checked my work by _____________.
I knew I was right when ________________.
Provide additional scaffolding as ELLs move to the independent practice phase of a lesson.
How do you reach ELL students in your math classroom? Share in the comments section!
If you need additional strategies, tips, and teaching ideas for teaching math to your English language learners, Math Strategies to Use With Your English Language Learners (TCR 2908 grades 1-2, TCR 2909 grades 3-4, and TCR 2910 grades 5-6) by author Tracie Heskett will be available this summer from Teacher Created Resources.
You can also book ELL professional development through the K-12 Teachers Alliance.