Increasing Math Achievement Through Sentence Frames and Opportunities for Math Talk

Student participation and communication (math talk) are integral to students’ learning of math concepts.  Many students, ELL and non-ELL alike, often have trouble finding the words to accurately express their thinking in math.

Providing sentences frames allows all students to:

  • fully participate in math discussions.
  • contextualize and bring meaning to vocabulary.
  • use the vocabulary they learn in grammatically correct and complete sentences.

See examples of sentence frames.

Students also need opportunities to practice verbalizing the language of math.  It is very difficult for ELLs to feel comfortable using new language in whole group settings without first having the opportunity to practice that language.  Allowing time for partner talk or small group discussions provides students a safe setting to practice that new language.

See video of students in cooperative groups.

This entry was posted in Instruction, Listening & Speaking, Math by Michelle Story-Kohl. Bookmark the permalink.
Michelle Story-Kohl

About Michelle Story-Kohl

Michelle is an ELL instructional coach for Lincoln Public Schools. She partners with many teachers across the district as they support their ELL students’ academic language development. Michelle is available to work with teachers and staff at Lakeview, Saratoga, Campbell, Everett, McPhee, Beattie, Brownell, Everett, Holmes, Kooser, Sheridan, and West Lincoln

2 thoughts on “Increasing Math Achievement Through Sentence Frames and Opportunities for Math Talk

  1. While the language functions used in the sentence frames provided can be used in other content areas, the examples are using math content. When creating sentence frames, it can be helpful to visualize what you would hear proficient students saying as they complete the task or objective. Once you’ve decided what you want to hear students say, you can create frames to support that language. For example, sentence frames for rounding might look like this:
    I am rounding to the __________________ place value.
    _________ is between _________and _________.
    It is closer to _________, so I am rounding to ____________.

    You can see more examples of math sentence frames in this post about language objectives. Scroll down to the end of the post for the math examples.

Leave a Reply