Today was our first day of the QTEL Summer Institute.

As you reflect on the questions below, keep in mind the range of experiences we engaged in today.

We began with coffee and pastries, followed by an overview led by Ralph of the week's activities. The focus Ralph discussed what the Ron Tzur would lead 9 sessions, and each session would be framed as an Inquiry Into My Practice (IIMP). His sessions/IIMPs would be 'book-ended' with Pre-Brief discussion with a ThinkingPartner, followed by his session/IIMP and then concluded with a DeBrief conversation with a ThinkingPartner.

Participants then took the MKT Survey. Ron then began his Session #1 at 10:45 with Ralph as Ron's ThinkingPartner. The session focused on observing two children and their mathematical reasoning.

After Ron's session, Ralph guided the 3x2 Debrief where participants listed 3 items they recall from Ron's IIMP, then listened in on as Ralph and Ron debriefed. This was followed by a final set of 3 more observations, and concluded with participants applying Ron's IIMP to their own practice, by exploring, envisioning and enacting the big ideas of Ron's IIMP to their own professional practice.

We had lunch, and after lunch Debra led a session on WIDA standards with Kim Song as her ThinkingPartner.

As you look back at your first day:

1. What do the activities we engaged in suggest about what is important in the math and ELL-focused work we do?

2. What aspect of your own practice in math, and with ELL's, do you wish to pursue when developing your own IIMP, which you will teach in the fall?

NOTE: Please respond to at least 2 colleagues' postings.

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Replies to This Discussion

Donna,

  This week, I hope we get into specific strategies or "look fors" to assist in determining where are students are and then the steps to help them.  Often we have this conglomerate of students at all different levels and although we may be aware that there are areas that they need more assistance, it is the daily problem of how to address all of those needs.  So, I'm with ya. 

Donna Butler said:

I think the activities we engaged in stress the importance of first determining where our students are and then providing those supports needed to assist students in their acquisition of second language.

Number sense. I think we expect that if our students can count and recognize numbers, that everything else is automatic. I never thought that students didn't have the concept of what a number is. That fact alone was a big moment for me today, especially when I think back about the students that I've had in the past that struggled so much with math. I'm looking forward to getting strategies and tools to use with my students to make sure they have a solid foundation so we can move on from there.

1. What do the activities we engaged in suggest about what is important in the math and ELL-focused work we do?

 

When it comes to learning math, English language learners (ELLs) have a unique challenge. Unlike most English-speaking students, ELLs have the task of learning a second language and learning content simultaneously.  Lnguage plays a critical role not just in reading and writing, but in learning mathematics as well. As a teacher, you're challenged with making math lessons comprehensible and with ensuring that students have the language to understand instruction and express their grasp of math concepts. In the classroom it is important to develop specialized curriuculum for  differentiation of instuction within the context of state standards. This is true of all student but epeacially true of ELL students.

2. What aspect of your own practice in math, and with ELL's, do you wish to pursue when developing your own IIMP, which you will teach in the fall?

I want content in my lesson  that will be relivant to me in the classroom. As a undergrad student I am always searching to build a collection of great teaching ideas in the classroom. This allows me to be thoughful about my lessons before I arrive in the classroom as well as reflective if arrive and the lesson are/are not successful.

I agree with the point on determining the students uderstanding before we as teacher engage in teaching. How can we as educators expectect that we are going to be successful in educating student it we dont meet them at their current level. I also think of this as one of the biggest most crucial aspectes of teaching and may not be done as often because of time constaints.

Donna Butler said:

I think the activities we engaged in stress the importance of first determining where our students are and then providing those supports needed to assist students in their acquisition of second language.

Number sense. I think we expect that if our students can count and recognize numbers, that everything else is automatic. I never thought that students didn't have the concept of what a number is. That fact alone was a big moment for me today, especially when I think back about the students that I've had in the past that struggled so much with math. I'm looking forward to getting strategies and tools to use with my students to make sure they have a solid foundation so we can move on from there.

!.

I would say that language (whether it be the language of math or English or any L1) is more than the words on the page and on the lips. I came late to today's session and it was interesting to witness and experience the discussion and processing of a very focused math and language concept (counting up vs. counting on). Even the words amongst ourselves took time to decode and transfer the information underneath. Why wouldn't it be any different for ELLs? We must carefully (as much as time available and our own memory allow) choose our language and content objects as much as we choose the sensory and cultural references we use in our instruction and assessment.

@.

We've been talking a lot about number lines and the careful use of language. I wonder what helpful or just other considerations should I take into account when introducing this seemingly very important groundwork concept?

1. What do the activities we engaged in suggest about what is important in the math and ELL-focused work we do?

I think the activities we engaged in highlight the importance of understanding the math we are teaching. Basically, if we don't understand the math that we are teaching we will not be able to effectively teach math (to any student, not specifically ELLs). That being said, I think lack of teacher knowledge in the math content area, coupled with an ELLs disadvantage in terms of language combine to make the subject much harder, and perhaps impossible to fully understand for most kids. Therefore, it is important for educators to use the resources, tools, and knowledge available to us to 1) ensure we understand what we teach 2) determine what level/knowledge our students have. Better teachers and teaching practices should equate to better outcomes from students.

2. What aspect of your own practice in math, and with ELL's, do you wish to pursue when developing your own IIMP, which you will teach in the fall?

It's hard for me to fully answer this question because I am not a classroom teacher. That being said, I was really intrigued about kids needing to have a solid number sense in order to understand/do math. It amazes me that students in older grades might not have this. Therefore, I think I will ensure that early on in the school year I gauge where my students are (in terms of number sense). By attaining this knowledge early on, I will 1) begin to gain deeper insight into my students and their struggles/success 2) find a starting point for instruction. So, I'd like to gain deeper knowledge on how to determine where students are in terms of number sense, and then how to instill a number sense in my students while still meeting curriculum guidelines.

Ellis, firstly, I appreciate your use of ! and @ instead of  1. and 2 :). Secondly, I think you bring up a great question in your answer for number 2. What is the appropriate way to introduce a number line to a student? I wonder if it's something that should always be there, or something that should only be introduced after appropriate scaffolding. Thinking ahead, I think it's also important to ask when should we expect/want students to stop relying on number lines.  Also, although number lines provide a tool for the student, we could also use it as a tool for ourselves (in terms of assessment). For instance, if we see a student counting on using the number line we can gauge if they have a number sense. 

Maggie

Ellis Anderson said:

!.

I would say that language (whether it be the language of math or English or any L1) is more than the words on the page and on the lips. I came late to today's session and it was interesting to witness and experience the discussion and processing of a very focused math and language concept (counting up vs. counting on). Even the words amongst ourselves took time to decode and transfer the information underneath. Why wouldn't it be any different for ELLs? We must carefully (as much as time available and our own memory allow) choose our language and content objects as much as we choose the sensory and cultural references we use in our instruction and assessment.

@.

We've been talking a lot about number lines and the careful use of language. I wonder what helpful or just other considerations should I take into account when introducing this seemingly very important groundwork concept?

I totally agree with you in terms of number sense. The whole lesson definitely provided me with an "ah-ha" moment. I think we can all look back at students we've worked with who've struggled with math and wonder if the root of their struggle was ever really addressed. As you and I talked about during our thinking activity, I think we often are given information on the knowledge students have seemingly acquired and try to fill in the gaps. Perhaps we should worry more about what is causing the gaps. If a student is struggling hardcore in math, maybe we shouldn't reteach what they should know and expect them to get it (or hope that they do). Perhaps the first step is going back to the basics and determining if they have the number sense to even progress in mathematics.

Donna Butler said:

I think the activities we engaged in stress the importance of first determining where our students are and then providing those supports needed to assist students in their acquisition of second language.

Number sense. I think we expect that if our students can count and recognize numbers, that everything else is automatic. I never thought that students didn't have the concept of what a number is. That fact alone was a big moment for me today, especially when I think back about the students that I've had in the past that struggled so much with math. I'm looking forward to getting strategies and tools to use with my students to make sure they have a solid foundation so we can move on from there.

1.  Today's activities stressed how vital it is that we take the time to observe and identify the math knowledge each of our students brings with them to our classroom.  First and foremost, we need to know if they have the concept of number.  This is the foundation for all math they will learn.   When we know our students individually as math learners, we can provide the scaffolding and supports that they will need to be successful  in their math skills and grow as learners.  We can't just assume every student in our room "gets it".   Our job is to differentiate our math instruction to meet the needs of all our students, especially our ELL learners.

2.  I would like to really focus on helping my students with the language of math.  I work with kindergarten, first and second grade ELL learners.  So often it is the vocabulary we use with the math skill that confuses them, not the actual skill itself.  I think this can be true for many other students as well.  Again, I can't just assume they understand what "equals" or "addition" means.  I want to develop those supports that will make the language of math meaningful for my students.

Shaisha,

I agree completely with everything you said about the importance of language instruction in math.  I love how you pointed out that our students need this language not only to comprehend math but to "express their grasp of math concepts".  You are so right!  They need an understanding of math language not only receptively, but in their own production as well.  
 
Shaisha Hunter said:

1. What do the activities we engaged in suggest about what is important in the math and ELL-focused work we do?

 

When it comes to learning math, English language learners (ELLs) have a unique challenge. Unlike most English-speaking students, ELLs have the task of learning a second language and learning content simultaneously.  Lnguage plays a critical role not just in reading and writing, but in learning mathematics as well. As a teacher, you're challenged with making math lessons comprehensible and with ensuring that students have the language to understand instruction and express their grasp of math concepts. In the classroom it is important to develop specialized curriuculum for  differentiation of instuction within the context of state standards. This is true of all student but epeacially true of ELL students.

2. What aspect of your own practice in math, and with ELL's, do you wish to pursue when developing your own IIMP, which you will teach in the fall?

I want content in my lesson  that will be relivant to me in the classroom. As a undergrad student I am always searching to build a collection of great teaching ideas in the classroom. This allows me to be thoughful about my lessons before I arrive in the classroom as well as reflective if arrive and the lesson are/are not successful.

Mitzy,

I agree with you on two points.  First, giving pretest  then not using the results effectively is quite time consuming.   Second, having a template to use will be helpful in planning for our ELLs and making sure we are providing the elements needed in our lessons to help them be successful.   We were given so many things to think about and consider today.  I'm hoping I can implement the ideas to provide a more effective learning environment for my ELLs and all my students.

Donna

 

Mitzy Barnstead said:

1. I noticed that Ron and Ralph kept summarizing the key points and were mindful of making sure all of us understood what was to happen, what did happen, and where we would go next. These are important things to do within our classrooms to make sure our ELL's are supported and are aware of what is expected of them and why. They also provided us with time to record and share our thinking using a graphic orgranizer; which is also vital in supporting ELL's communication with their peers and what they know about math.

2. I would like to utilize the concept of numbers with my students to collect data early in the school year. This can be a quick, practical way to see where my students are in terms of math. It has always been difficult as a fifth grade teacher to know why some of my students can't add or subtract. In the past, I would give a unit pre-test (which was lengthy and time consuming) and then not really use the data because of how long it took me to grade it. The concept of numbers "test" Ron presented may be a better tool for me to add to my student data.

From the p.m. session I would like to add to my math unit objectives from the curriculum a support activity provided from the list. Just making sure that I have it written in the ojective will keep the lesson more focused and better support the ELL (and all) students.

Shaisha,

Building a toolbox of strategies and ideas is a good idea.  I have found that I find things I forget I had and think WOW! what a great idea.  You are right.  Time is a HUGE factor because there is never enough.  Organization and good planning is key.  The template Debra provided today will be extremely valuable.

Donna 
 
Shaisha Hunter said:

1. What do the activities we engaged in suggest about what is important in the math and ELL-focused work we do?

 

When it comes to learning math, English language learners (ELLs) have a unique challenge. Unlike most English-speaking students, ELLs have the task of learning a second language and learning content simultaneously.  Lnguage plays a critical role not just in reading and writing, but in learning mathematics as well. As a teacher, you're challenged with making math lessons comprehensible and with ensuring that students have the language to understand instruction and express their grasp of math concepts. In the classroom it is important to develop specialized curriuculum for  differentiation of instuction within the context of state standards. This is true of all student but epeacially true of ELL students.

2. What aspect of your own practice in math, and with ELL's, do you wish to pursue when developing your own IIMP, which you will teach in the fall?

I want content in my lesson  that will be relivant to me in the classroom. As a undergrad student I am always searching to build a collection of great teaching ideas in the classroom. This allows me to be thoughful about my lessons before I arrive in the classroom as well as reflective if arrive and the lesson are/are not successful.

1. What do the activities we engaged in suggest about what is important in the math and ELL-focused work we do?

Word problems in math could be difficult for ELLs if the language is hard for no reason. We should not make things difficult for them if they do not need to be. Some of the problems they have are sometime the fault of the teacher, through their practices and beliefs. Always allow students to share their ideas, even if they are all saying the same thing. This lets them know that their opinion does matter and they are a special part their classroom community.

2. What aspect of your own practice in math, and with ELL's, do you wish to pursue when developing your own IIMP, which you will teach in the fall?

I wish to pursue concepts of numbers so if I have a student that is below grade level, I will have the knowledge to get them on grade level and beyond.

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