Instructional Shift 4: Create language-rich classroom routines.

Chapter 5: Language-Rich Classes




What should we see in an effective mathematics classroom?

-An ongoing emphasis on the use and meaning of mathematical terms, including their definitions and their connections to real-world entities and/or pictures

  • Lead a department/team discussion focused on responding to the following questions:
    • In everyday practice, when and how are mathematical vocabulary and notation addressed?
    • What strategies do you use to help students develop and retain an understanding of mathematical terms?


-Student and teacher explanations that make frequent and precise use of mathematical terms, vocabulary, and notation

  • Introduce an activity through the use of a “brain dump” (p. 27). In what ways does this activity promote a language-rich discussion?


-An extensive use of word walls that capture the key terms and vocabulary with pictures when appropriate and in English as well as Spanish when appropriate

  • In what ways are word walls being used in your classroom? How can a word wall be used effectively?
  • Have students complete the Frayer Model for a mathematical term or idea recently discussed. To see an example, click on the following document:

  • Have students keep and update a word wall in notebook. Periodically have students visit the wall and explain key terms. Have students highlight any terms they cannot fully describe in their own words.