Friday, June 06, 2014

My most used graphic organizer

     Let me tell you a little bit about the demographics my school. About 65% of our students speak a second language at home. Actually, in my district there are 88 different languages spoken in the homes of our students! I don't think I could even get close to naming that many different languages. With such a diverse population with varying levels of understanding of the English language, I really need to stress math vocabulary with my students. One of the ways I do this is with a vocabulary graphic organizer of words for all the operations.

                                   Click here
key words graphic organizer

            As a class we will brainstorm all of the different words they can think of that apply to the four operations. This gives my second language learners an opportunity to build their background knowledge and also have a visual they can refer to throughout the year. I use talk moves in my classroom and it has been a wonderful tool to help not just my second language learners but all of the students in my classroom. Check out the video below from the teaching channel on talk moves.

Click here to see Teaching Channel video on Talk Moves

     I use this graphic organizer several times throughout the year beginning with writing expressions. We fill out only the portion for the four operations. Later we add the words for equal when we write equations. And still later in the year when we hit inequalities we add in the inequality symbol words. When doing any type of word problems the students refer to it as well. I am thinking of adding the idea of color with a purpose where students will underline words in different colors to help them decipher the meaning of the text. (Sorry I can't remember where I read about color with purpose but I will find out.)  I truly believe that Foldables and graphic organizers are a wonderful tool for these kids. It gives them such a good visual to refer back to.

     One great example I have from this year was my student Josue. He was a level 3 ELL student who tested in the Algebra range for math and was leaps and bounds ahead of his ELL class. He came to my gen ed Algebra class, which is an accelerated class for our 8th graders, with a very limited English vocabulary. I paired him with 2 other students who spoke Spanish and he did all the work the rest of the class did with very little accommodation. That is until we hit writing equations, and systems word problems. I gave him this graphic organizer and I read the test to him. He was able to achieve a C for the section. I was so proud of him and he was thrilled with himself. His English improved tremendously throughout the year and he wrote me a note at the end of the year thanking me for the time I spent with him on word problems in particular. He referred often to this graphic organizer.
     As you can tell, my mind has already shifted to the beginning of the school year. I have so much to share with you this summer. I can't wait to get it all down on paper.

                                               Til next time,


Key words graphic organizer


  1. I love the idea of having this all together on the same graphic organizer. I totally need to steal this for next year! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I'm glad you can use it. I have stolen so much from you it is great to give back:)

  2. Thanks for sharing--I love it--organization is a BIG thing.


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