Place Value with ELLs

Math instruction is becoming increasingly language rich.  Students are being asked to be flexible with numbers and describe their thinking as they problem solve.  Place Value is something many ELLs struggle with.  The academic language is plentiful and the concepts can be abstract!  A few ways to make this challenging concept more accessible to ELLs are:

  • Introduce vocabulary by providing concrete examples and visuals
  • Support math language by providing students with sentence frames to describe their thinking and problem solving skills
  • Give students access to manipulatives to make problem solving more concrete
  • Provide students with opportunities to repeatedly rehearse academic math vocabulary

To see these strategies in action, check out this video of a third grade whole group lesson on place value! 


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Holly Tracy

About Holly Tracy

Holly Tracy is an ELL Instructional Coach for Lincoln Public Schools. She works with the staff and administration at Adams, Arnold, Calvert, Cavett, Clinton, Hill, Humann, Kloefkorn, Maxey, Roper, Rousseau, and Zeman. Holly has had the chance to develop valuable partnerships with many teachers across these buildings as they support their ELL students and looks forward to continuing this work.

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