February 22, 2021 Jim Ewing

4 Tools to Meet the Needs of ELs in Math

Tool #2: Providing Authentic Access

Providing visuals is an example of providing ELs access, but it is not enough. We need to provide access that ELs can VISUALIZE. Yes, they need to visualize themselves in our math curriculum. In other words, if we provide ELs visuals about math they cannot relate to, that is not good enough. Below is a visual that Hispanic ELs may relate to.

Activities written by Math Distance Learning for ELLs from Teachers Pay Teachers

Of course, we have to be careful of the stereotypes, but many Hispanic ELs may be able to visualize the math problem above. For example, if we were to change the name of a word problem to Jaime goes to the mall to buy jeans. That is not enough. Above the word pancake is changed to “panqueque” which is a cognate (The words sound the same in both Spanish and English.) There is a visual of a pancake with jam, which is popular in many Latin countries, including Guatemala. Also, a sentence stem is provided so the ELs have access to the math content.

Notice that when we provide access to the content, we can engage our ELs in rigorous mathematics.