Series: Content Conversations: Strategies for ELLs


Common core State Standards

  • Math:  Math
  • Practice:  Mathematical Practice Standards
  • MP4:  Model with mathematics.

    Mathematically proficient students can apply the mathematics they know to solve problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace. In early grades, this might be as simple as writing an addition equation to describe a situation. In middle grades, a student might apply proportional reasoning to plan a school event or analyze a problem in the community. By high school, a student might use geometry to solve a design problem or use a function to describe how one quantity of interest depends on another. Mathematically proficient students who can apply what they know are comfortable making assumptions and approximations to simplify a complicated situation, realizing that these may need revision later. They are able to identify important quantities in a practical situation and map their relationships using such tools as diagrams, two-way tables, graphs, flowcharts and formulas. They can analyze those relationships mathematically to draw conclusions. They routinely interpret their mathematical results in the context of the situation and reflect on whether the results make sense, possibly improving the model if it has not served its purpose.

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)


Common core State Standards

  • Math:  Math
  • 1:  Grade 1
  • OA:  Operations & Algebraic Thinking
  • C:  Add and subtract within 20
  • 5: 
    Relate counting to addition and subtraction (e.g., by counting on 2 to add 2).

Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)


Common core State Standards

  • Math:  Math
  • 1:  Grade 1
  • OA:  Operations & Algebraic Thinking
  • C:  Add and subtract within 20
  • 6: 
    **Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as counting on; making ten (e.g., 8 + 6 = 8 + 2 + 4 = 10 + 4 = 14); decomposing a number leading to a ten (e.g., 13 - 4 = 13 - 3 - 1 = 10 - 1 = 9); using the relationship between addition and subtraction (e.g., knowing that 8 + 4 = 12, one knows 12 - 8 = 4); and creating equivalent but easier or known sums (e.g., adding 6 + 7 by creating the known equivalent 6 + 6 + 1 = 12
    • 1 = 13).**

    Download Common Core State Standards (PDF 1.2 MB)

Dot Talks: Building Fluency with Numbers
Lesson Objective: Share addition strategies through a dot talk
Grade 1 / Math / ELL
Math.Practice.MP4 | Math.1.OA.C.5 | Math.1.OA.C.6

Thought starters

  1. How does Ms. Gelormino create an environment where students are comfortable sharing their thinking?
  2. How does Ms. Gelormino use questioning to encourage the use of academic language?
  3. What strategies does Ms. Gelormino use to support her English Language Learners?
What a very remarkable tools for teaching. thanks for the good idea that I've been learning.
Recommended (1)
I am so very new to teaching but I am learning alot and I think this way of teaching is remarkable. I believe that children learn more visually and this lesson is a great way for children to learn math and understand. Great lesson when I start teaching I will be incorporating this way into my lesson. Thank you....
Recommended (0)
Wow what a great math talk! I have been used to using math talks just orally, but I found it hard with dots because the students need to come up and show me how they grouped the dots. That was very hard for them to do just orally. I usually have them touch my projected dots with a pointer. I love how they are able to circle the dots and how they then write the equation!!!! Do you make copies from your dots pdf for them to draw on? Do you make multiple copies so the students can see the multiple ways instead of using a white board projected. They would be erasing the previous students finding. Thanks for the great ideas.
Recommended (2)
I love how the teacher encouraged other students to add on or build upon what the other students shared. She had students who were watching write the equation on the floor with their finger to help them stay engaged and on task. This lesson gave the students in the class a chance to be creative problem solvers and to show and explain how they were thinking about the dots. The teacher encouraged students to take risks and to not be afraid to make mistakes. It was interesting how some students chose to circle the dots. Some even came up with three addends. I will definitely try this with my first graders. Its important for students to explain their thinking. I can find out a lot by their responses. The extension was great for students to apply what they learned by drawing their own dots. I think this will be a great way introduce addition strategies for counting on and adding.
Recommended (2)
@ Mr. Leabo, All children (even gifted) need to participate in this math talk for at this age it is difficult to express themselves in a succinct fashion. What's nice is that they too can show their skills with the number talk partner. I think she managed her time properly (it is a brief time frame, only a few times in the week) and don't foresee any child going off in their own "math world." She can redirect them and get that child more involved, including that child in modeling the "math talk." However, another option would be to have a math center for some students who are ready for the next challenge, a performance task that with require them to draw a model representation for addition that they can share during this number talk time after the teacher does the piece with the ELL student(s) who may also have some content deficiencies, for other ELL students may be at-grade level or above grade-level. It would be a matter of assessing and appropriately differentiating instruction.
Recommended (1)


  • Dot Talks: Building Fluency with Numbers Transcript
    Teaching Channel

    +++ 00:00:04 +++
    Julia Gelormino: I know that this class

    Dot Talks: Building Fluency with Numbers Transcript
    Teaching Channel

    +++ 00:00:04 +++
    Julia Gelormino: I know that this class has lots of knowledge that they're ready to share with their mathematical thinking. And I know that we know how to have really good academic discussions.
    Dot Talk:
    Building Fluency with Numbers Up to 10

    +++ 00:00:19 +++
    Julia Gelormino: Welcome first graders. Today we get to do something super exciting! We're going to do a number talk together.
    Lower Third:
    Julia Gelormino
    First Grade Teacher
    Think College Now Elementary, Oakland CA
    Julia Gelormino: My name is Julia Gelormino. I teach first grade at Think College Now Elementary.
    Julia Gelormino: Today, we're going to get to show all of our mathematical thinking about all the things that we've been learning, about counting on and adding numbers.
    Common Core State Standard
    Add and subtract within 20
    Common Core State Standard
    Model with Mathematics

    +++ 00:00:38 +++
    Julia Gelormino: Today's lesson was about using a Number Talk, which is basically a short routine that you can do three to four times a week. This particular number talk was a Dot Talk, so they're using those dots and grouping them in different ways. So the way that it connects with math expressions would be that there's two different partners, they're adding them together to make the total. They're using equations to represent their thinking. They're drawing a circle to go around how they grouped them.
    +++ 00:01:06 +++
    Sometimes they might group them in twos. Sometimes there might be three add-ins if they decide to group it in that way. And it's really interesting to be able to see how they visually see it.

    +++ 00:01:17 +++
    Julia Gelormino: When you have an answer ready, you're going to show with a thumb. If you have more than one way to show, you're going to show with more than one finger. How many dots do you see? And how do you see them? And when you have an answer ready, you're putting your thumb in front of your chest.

    +++ 00:01:35 +++
    Julia Gelormino: The hand signals that we use, they're effective because it is a way for everyone to participate. So they're able to show without having to call out, and have everyone say, "Oh, I know the answer!" Or the answer is this!" Or, "I agree!" Or, "I disagree!" It's a way for me to see in one moment with all of my students if they're agreeing, if they're disagreeing. I'm able to see if they understand.

    +++ 00:01:56 +++
    Julia Gelormino: And now what you're going to do is you're going to turn to your partner, and Partner A, Partner A raise your hand. Thank you Partner A for raising your hand. Partner A, you're going to share how many dots you see, and how you see them. Can you share?

    +++ 00:02:15 +++
    Julia Gelormino: With this particular population we have a large percentage of kids that are English Language learners. We do assessments beforehand to see where they're coming in in terms of reading or math. Going over our numbers, going over how to write those numbers. And then that way I'm able to see what can they do and where do they need to go. And that's how I'm differentiating my teaching. So all of the data informs my instruction.

    +++ 00:02:39 +++
    Julia Gelormino: Partner B, raise your hand. Okay, Partner B, you're going to get a chance to be able to share how many dots you see, and how you see them. Partner B, please begin.

    +++ 00:02:50 +++
    Julia Gelormino: After they turned and talked, I actually had them show on their fingers the number that they saw. So most kids were holding up ten fingers. And that's a way for me to see like, "Okay, at least we all agree that the number is ten."
    Julia Gelormino: So Fenali [ph?], today, can you tell us how many dots did you see?
    Fenali: I see three.
    Julia Gelormino: Can you say more?
    Ford Announcer: I see-- do, 'cause I see three.

    +++ 00:03:15 +++
    Julia Gelormino: So with Common Core, there's a large focus on academic discussions. Being able to talk about your math and talk about your thinking in math. And to be able to show that, but also to verbalize it as well. So it's a way where we can all have a conversation about the things that we're learning and explaining how we know, and being able to site evidence in the problem.

    +++ 00:03:37 +++
    Julia Gelormino: So what's a way that you could show that on the paper to show your thinking?
    Fenali: I can...
    Julia Gelormino: Would you like to have a friend to help you to build on. Okay.
    Fenali: Jairo.
    Julia Gelormino: All right, you're going to pass off the marker to Jairo.
    Julia Gelormino: In this community we can all add-on or build or help someone out. Especially with English Language Learners.
    Ask guiding questions to encourage academic language

    +++ 00:04:00 +++
    Julia Gelormino: How could you add more information to this to be able to show what Naleli [ph?] was thinking?
    Jairo: Ask questions.
    Julia Gelormino: Oh, awesome. And right now as Jairo: finishes that, I want you to take your hand, and I want you to write down the equation on the ground in front of you. Write down the equation that would go with what Naleli was sharing.

    +++ 00:04:20 +++
    Julia Gelormino: While one kid is up at the poster, that's working, right? That's often a time where the rest of the kids might get disengaged, so having them actually do the problem in front of them, even if it just means that they're doing it in the air, they're doing it on the floor, they might be doing it in their hand. And that way they're staying engaged with the math, right? So being able to write a math equation, they're like, "Oh, this is something that I can do. And a way that I can participate."

    +++ 00:04:44 +++
    Julia Gelormino: We're going to do one more Dot Talk. And we're going to think about if there's any familiar patterns or any connection on that we might see with this Dot Talk. How many dots do you see? And how do you see them? Again, showing with the thumb if you have on way to show how many dots you see, and if you more than one way--

    +++ 00:05:04 +++
    Julia Gelormino: There's two different partners, they're adding them together to make the total. So it's a way to practice with partnerships. It's a way to build with Fluency Facts. They're using equations to represent their thinking. They're drawing a circle around how they grouped them. Sometimes they might group them in twos. Sometimes there might be three add-ins, if they decide to group it in that way. And it's really interesting to be able to see how they visually see it.

    +++ 00:05:31 +++
    Julia Gelormino: So Dianar [ph?], could you say more about what you just drew on your poster?
    Dianar: I went around six.

    +++ 00:05:40 +++
    Julia Gelormino: So can you check that to make sure? Now Dianar said that she found six and three. Right now to check to see what you think. If you agree or disagree. And if you would like to clarify, or be able to elaborate a little bit more about what we could do to help Dianar out. All right, now you're showing whether you agree or disagree.

    +++ 00:06:05 +++
    Julia Gelormino: When a kid makes a mistake, it's not necessarily seen as a bad thing, right? It's something that we can learn from. And also that we're a part of the community, so in this community, we can all add on or build or help someone out, especially with English Language Learners, too, there's no point in having them stand there and kind of be tongue-tied when there's someone else that could help them out to build up their confidence a little bit more.
    Julia Gelormino: Dianar, could you say what you noticed??
    Dianar (subtitled): I made a mistake and it was seven.

    +++ 00:06:34 +++
    Julia Gelormino: Nice. And how did you figure that out?
    Dianar: By using my brain.
    Julia Gelormino: Okay, you used your brain, and what else did you use to check?
    Dianar: Hm, my counting.

    +++ 00:06:47 +++
    Julia Gelormino: How did you check to make sure? DO you think we could help out Dianar with a way that we could check to make sure that there's seven instead of six. Can you call in a friend to help you?
    Dianar: Eric?
    Eric: (subtitled): Because six plus one equals seven.

    +++ 00:07:05 +++
    Julia Gelormino: Six plus one equals seven. That's correct. Being able to stake a step back, asking more open-ended questions, letting them do more of the writing, even if it takes more time. Being able to have them practice. Being able to ask the right questions. So all of those things I'm working on tweaking and honing. In each situation you never know what you're going to get.

    +++ 00:07:27 +++
    Julia Gelormino: So we've been at the carpet for a little while. Now, what you're going to get to do is you're going to get to make your own Dot Talk. But today, it's going to be for the Number 10.

    +++ 00:07:37 +++
    Julia Gelormino: After we had done two Dot Talks, I decided to extend it to be able to talk about Dot Talks and like to create their own. So it was a little bit different than what we had just been doing, because the dots were already there, and now what I was asking them to do is think about the partners that they know of ten. And then create their own Dot Talk.
    Julia Gelormino: So this partner was?
    Student: Six.
    Julia Gelormino: And then what would you show over here?
    Student: Four.

    +++ 00:08:01 +++
    Student (subtitled): Five and three and then we can add two, and then we could count up and then we do... five, eight, nine, ten.
    Julia Gelormino: Nice! How could show your thinking there?

    +++ 00:08:16 +++
    Julia Gelormino: I was co-creating this poster, it wasn't me writing it down for them. And if they made a mistake, that was okay. They crossed it out, they were able to write it on their own. It wasn't me taking other. For me, it's a lot about being able to coach them, and take a step back, and give them more autonomy. Which can be really hard with six-year-olds.
    Student: And this is six.
    Julia Gelormino: Mm hm, wonderful!
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Think College Now School
2825 International Boulevard
Oakland CA 94601
Population: 306

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