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Math and Science Strategies for English Language Learners

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  1. Math and Science Strategies for English Language Learners May 30, 2007 NYS Bronx BETAC Presenters Diana Barros, Director Eva Garcia, Resource Specialist

  2. Research When students are allowed to use their home language in the classroom, their academic performance as well as English-language development often improves (Kang & Pham, 1995:Latham, 1998).

  3. Research continued This can enable them to build a foundation of Math and Science concepts before entering higher grades where language becomes more “decontextualized” and cognitevely demanding” (Cummins, 1992, as cited by Rupp, 1992).

  4. Research continued “Skills in the content areas like Mathematics and Social Studies, once learned in the first language, are retained when instruction shifts to the second language." James Crawford, 1995).

  5. Academic Language Research Research indicated it takes five to seven years for students to acquire academic English at a level that will permit them to benefit fully from academic instruction in English (Cummins, 2000).

  6. NCTM Standards for Mathematics • Value Mathematics • Confident in their ability to do Math • Mathematical problem solvers • Communicate mathematically • Reasoning mathematically • Strategies for teaching Mathematics

  7. What’s difficult in Math for ESL students? • Language dependence in Mathematics (ambiguous or complex strings of words or combinations) addend quotient all together multiply Square root Least common denominator

  8. Continued difficulty for ELLs • Nonlinguistic U. S. SystemSpanish Speaking Country 4 32 → 32 4 1,258,125 → 1.258.125 4.5 → 4,5

  9. Let’s look at implications for instruction • Vocabulary • Language of Mathematics/symbolic and everyday math language • Syntactic features of word problems • Active learning • Mathematical sentences/narrative text • Mathematical operations

  10. Specialized vocabulary • Word sorting classification • Word sorting/structural analysis • Word generation/word families • Word card • Concept definition map

  11. Everyday Math language I have been saving some money because I want to buy a game. I already got $25 dollars from my aunt. I still need some more money. What is known and left unsaid?

  12. Everyday language continued Language of problem solving I have $25.00. I have to add some amount to the number of dollars I already have, 25 to get the total amount of money I need to buy a game, $50.00.

  13. Symbolic language • + x = 22 Fifteen plus X equals twenty two How can we use symbols and written language to help ELLs in solving Math problems?

  14. Why is active learning for ELLs important? • Validates diverse resources that Ell students bring to the classroom • Supports the needs of ELLs • Builds an instructional environment that benefits beginners, intermediate and advanced students

  15. Mathematical sentences vs. standard narrative text • Translation word for word expressed in words and the concept expressed in words and the concept expressed in symbols • Concept expressed in words differs in order from the way it is expressed in symbols Thus, a linear, one to one translation is not possible.

  16. Translation not possible Hilda has 7 records. She has 5 records less than David. How many records does David have? 7-5 7+5

  17. Mathematical operations • Signaled in different ways (signal words) Addition Add plus combine and sum increased by Total Subtraction Minus less than difference decrease by More than

  18. Symbols • Symbols used differently Comma used to separate whole numbers from decimal parts functioning as the decimal point does in this country.

  19. Opportunities for language use in Science and Math • Ask questions that require new or extended responses • Create opportunities for sustained dialogue and use of language in the subject area • Use of language in multiple settings • Focus on communication or discussion of ideas (error correction should be given minor role)

  20. CALLA Mathematics Guidelines Selecting priority content • Look for recurring themes/difficulty areas across grades and in depth Example: word problems & fractions Basic approach to problem solving • Five point checklist: Question Data Plan Answer Check

  21. Learning strategies with word problems • Understand the problem • Elaboration- What they know of topic & previous experiences? Group discussion & guiding questions • Imagery-Creating mental images of word problems Draw out steps & discuss in group

  22. Problem solving • Finding the needed information • Selective attention-eliminating distracters or unnecessary information, highlighting, work up paper Wanda completed the 100 meter race in 13.2 seconds. Wanda was 2.5 seconds faster than Rita. In how many seconds did Rita finish the race?

  23. Choosing a plan • Identify the operation • What the problem calls for? Working alone-drawing, illustrating, table, list, pattern, solving a simpler problem, guestimating and substituting different values Working in small group- Read aloud, paraphrasing, explaining, asking friends to explain their understanding, how was the plan selected

  24. Solving the problem • Have exemplars for reference-positive and negative • First work alone, then group for confirmation of answers • Students recap by verbalizing steps and process • Using Math journals/prompts

  25. Checking the answer • Work backwards • Use imagery • Use calculator • Estimation • Use other problem solving approaches

  26. Strategies • Measurement concepts and skills • Use of instruments • Data tables and graphs • Application and data analysis • Various problem solving strategies • Real world applications

  27. Continued strategies • Students writing original word problems • Exchanging word problems with classmates • Repetition of key terms • Grouping heterogeneously-language, background, level • Making interdisciplinary connections

  28. What’s most important to remember? English Language Learners need: • Explicit instruction to read and write mathematical symbols and words • To express mathematical ideas orally and with written symbols

  29. Science… Curriculum should be delivered via inquiry based instruction and experiential learning • K-12 curriculum consists of topics from: life sciences, physical sciences, earth science and scientific processes • Science in the classroom- underrepresented below JHS- is cumulative with increasing complexity • Use of textbooks needs to be taught: content, index, glossary, skimming, previewing, graphic organizers

  30. What’s difficult in Science for ELLs? • Expository Discourse Used to introduce new concepts, students must make inferences from related facts to develop hypothesis and conclusion. Discourse structure is organized sequentially. • Academic language skills are required H.O. 9.1

  31. Conceptual Understanding • Naive understandings of scientific phenomena can be persistent and interfere with learning. It may require a change in the way in which a concept is linked with other information in memory schemata or the development of new schemata altogether… • Less experience in Science may mean they will tend to organize information poorly & thus have less information available to retrieve during problem solving.

  32. continued • The way information is organized plays important role in making information available for problem solving. Students will need ways to link important concepts as much as accurate information.

  33. Study skills are similar to ELA & S.S. Students need to: • Locate information in textbooks, reference books, library • Take notes - presentations, information from books • Present verbal information in diagram format-charts and tables • Develop classification systems to recall information important information

  34. Difficult Grammatical Structures • passive voice • multiple embeddings • language noun phrases serving as objects or subjects in sentences • constructions and expressions indicating causalities

  35. Example Growing a new plant from a part of another plant is called vegetative propagation. *Student must read to the end to discover the noun phrase which acts as the subject of the sentence is in fact a definition of a new term.

  36. CALLA Science • Identify Science themes • Recommended by scientists and major National Science organization • Allows depth, avoids breadth • Promotes relevance to students lives and big ideas-Why do people grow and change? • Help students understand connections and interrelationships in our world

  37. CALLA continued • Prior knowledge about Science • Brainstorming, mapping, KWL and making visual representations • Selecting Science activities and materials H.O. Bio Lesson • Observations, systematic experimentation, collecting and organizing data • Types of instructional approaches H.O. 9.2 & wall chart

  38. CALLA continued • Integrating learning strategy instruction H.O. 9.3 • Calla Instructional Sequence Wall Chart

  39. Cognates • Anfibio amphibian • Bacterias bacteria • Adaptacion adaptation • Camuflaje camouflage • Carnivoro carnivore • Citoplasma cytoplasm

  40. Cognate Activity • In your groups, look over the Science or Math text you have selected. • As a group, identify the cognates you found. • Discuss how the use of cognates helps in understanding text to learn content.

  41. Finally, how do we differentiate instruction? • Content How do we prepare students for content? How do we know when they are ready to learn the new material? • Process How do we select the activities in thinking about the process?

  42. Differentiation continued • Product What type of product do we want to see? What information will you use to identify the product you want to see from the learner?

  43. Content • Should utilize student diversity How significant is this statement in the education of ELLS?