Engaging Bilingual Families in Math Talk

A recent blog entry highlights Justin Johnson's work with English Language Learners in Portland Public Schools. The Today OEA newsletter features additional information, including another video in which students and parents come together to engage in Math Talk. The video begins:

"One challenge many emergent bilingual students and families face is homework in another language. The need to bridge communication between home and school is crucial in the elementary years but more often than not our emergent bilingual families receive homework in English which can cause a barrier between home and school. The math homework of today must engage families to participate in the academic concepts and language of the classroom in order to bridge this barrier."

Watch the video for a glimpse into the powerful ways that teachers are building just such a bridge.


These Math Talk sentence frames are wonderful but where did you start? A grade level? Home Connections? Work Places?
Hi Wendy, We started making sentence frames for the K-2 workplaces. Because the workplaces and Home Connections activities are similar, it was natural to start creating language frames and visual directions for the homework. Starting in the classroom with workplaces, I have done professional development around promoting academic language during the work place activities. If teachers are using the language in the classroom and are expecting students to use this language during student-centered activities, then it becomes a great opportunity for parents to reinforce this language at home bilingually. You can access many of the work place sentence frames here: www.sentenceframes.com If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to email me. jmjohnson@pps.net Justin