St. Michael's College Graduate Education Program

Teaching Mathematics to English Language Learners

in the K – 8 Classroom

GED 611 Summer 2012


Time and location

June 25 – 28 and July 2 – 3, 10:00 – 12:05 Room 309, St. Edmunds 

Tim Whiteford PhD 654-2744

Required Readings:
The readings will comprise a selection of journal articles and short papers.


Other resources




The SMC Math Education  web-site:

My Math Counts Too web-site:

The Education Department Pages:

ESL website:


General Statement


This course will explore theories, ideas and practices for teaching math to students who are English Language Learners at the pre-K – 8 level in the context of the regular classroom. Students will investigate current literature on cultural, pedagogical and developmental issues related to how children from other countries and cultures learn mathematics in US classrooms.


This course is designed to explore, and model, how professional educators from different fields of interest can work together by sharing their knowledge and expertise to improve math instruction for students who, are English Language Learners.  


Course participants will explore the nature of the K – 8 math curriculum and relevant teaching strategies with particular reference to; cognitive academic language proficiency, the WIDA standards, the pedagogical content knowledge in selected areas of the math curriculum, the role of language in teaching and learning mathematics, the role of non-verbal materials such as manipulatives and graphic organizers.


In particular students will explore global differences in mathematics such as:

·         the use of different bases and mathematical procedures

·         differences in mathematical thinking

·         cultural differences in mathematics

·         ways in which math education is affected by differing cultural norms

·         the role of math in everyday life




Principles for Vermont Educators

Although the course will touch on all 16 of the Principles for Vermont Educators, the following Principles will be addressed most explicitly.


Principle #3 The educator understands how individuals and groups differ and creates
                    equitable instructional opportunities that respond to the needs of all

Principle #4 The educator understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to
                     provide opportunities for all students…..

Principle #5 The educator creates a classroom climate that encourages respect for self
                     and others….

Principle #8 The educator integrates students with disabilities into appropriate learning

Principle #10 The educator understands conditions and actions which would tend to
                      discriminate against students on the basis of sex, race, etc.

Principle #11 The educator works as a team member…..

Principle #12 The educator recognizes multiple influences on students inside and outside
                     the school and accesses appropriate systems of support.


Course objectives


Students will construct an understanding of, and meaningful connections between, each of the following with specific reference to math education. Students will demonstrate:

  1. a practical understanding of the WIDA math standards
  2. the ability to use pedagogical content knowledge in selected math content areas.
  3. knowledge of the general characteristics of students who are English Language Learners
  4. the ability to adapt math curriculum activities for English Language Learners
  5. the ability to use appropriate math language and cognitive academic math language 
  6. the ability to assess an English Language Learner’s math knowledge and understanding

AssAssignments and evaluation

1.   Daily reflections………………………..…..%30 

2.  WIDA-based Lesson plan .................%30

3.  A student interview………………………...%30

4. Attendance and Participation ………  %10


Additional information on assignments will be presented in class.




Monday, June 25                  Introductions and overview
                                            Mathematical knowledge and understanding 

                                            Global Differences in Mathematics      


Tuesday, June 26                 The Math Curriculum, the Bridges Math Program

                                            and the WIDA standards


Wednesday, June 27            Assessment and the Cultural math Interview (CMI)


Thursday, June 28th             Numeracy and the four Operations


Monday, July 2                     Lesson Planning


Tuesday, July 3                    Sharing Interviews, reflections and lesson plan ideas


Syllabus notes:

Specific readings will be assigned for each day.

The syllabus is subject to minor changes.

The lesson plans will be due two weeks after the end of the course.