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ERIC Number: EJ1043384
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Oct
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0839
Vocabulary Support: Constructing (Not Obstructing) Meaning
Livers, Stefanie D.; Bay-Williams, Jennifer M.
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, v20 n3 p152-159 Oct 2014
The language that students are learning in mathematics classrooms is intimately tied to the mathematics they are learning. The goal for any lesson or unit is for all students to be able to understand the mathematics they read or hear and be able to speak and write about that mathematics. Structured vocabulary placement can support that dual development of language and mathematics throughout a lesson. Numerous resources provide activities and strategies describing "how" to provide vocabulary support, yet little guidance is provided on the "timing" within a lesson. CCSSM's Standards for Mathematical Practice (SMP) emphasize the need for language: Mathematically proficient students need to be able to read and discuss mathematical problems, critique the reasoning of others, and use mathematical language precisely (CCSSI 2010). A focus on mathematical understanding and language development is important for all students, but these two are paramount for English language learners (ELLs). The authors suggest that rather than preteach essential language, educators should analyze vocabulary and decide which words might need to be pretaught, which words or phrases are better taught while students are engaged in doing the math, and which words might be better saved until students have explored the math. The authors provide suggestions for distributing vocabulary support throughout the lesson as a way to honor CCSSM's Standards for Mathematical Practice and students' needs for ongoing language support. They begin this article with some vocabulary considerations that are important to teaching mathematics.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education; Middle Schools; Junior High Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A