Supporting mathematics teaching and learning of students who are English Learners (ELs)

About Us

The Learning and Teaching Division at EDC works to better understand how learners learn and how teachers teach—in classrooms and communities, both urban and rural or affluent and underserved. One of our areas of expertise is supporting mathematics teaching and learning for emergent multilingual students (also referred to as English learners or English language learners). These efforts are based on a commitment to access for students who are English learners to opportunities for productive engagement with mathematics.

This website is primarily designed for math educators of English learners in the middle grades, including teachers, coaches, pre-service ecducators, and EL specialists.  The site's content includes 14 mathematics tasks from The Fostering Geometric Tooklit, as well as a set of support tools for each of the tasks.

The site also provides links to Other Resources that support the teaching and learning of mathematics for English learners.


New book:  Our book, Mathematical Thinking and Communication: Access for English Learners, was recently released by Heinemann Publishing. This book is intended as a resource for educators thinking about mathematics teaching and learning for students who are English learniers. Available with the book is a set of professional development resources.

Professional Development Opportunity: We have limited spaces for New England teachers to participate at no cost in a hybrid online and face-to-face course about visual representations and language support strategies for middle grades English learners. Please contact us at to learn more.

Upcoming Presentations:

• Pam Buffington will be presenting at the TODOS 2016: Ensuring Equity and Excellence in Mathematics for ALL conference.
• Johannah Nikula will be presenting at the NCTM K-8 Institute: Engaging Students in Learning Mathematical Practices.

For Further information or inqujiries about possible collaboration, please contact us at

Task & Language Tools

One resource on this website is a set of 14 mathematics tasks drawn from our Fostering Geometric Thinking Toolkit, each accompanied by language support tools that we cdeveloped to help make those tasks more accessible for English learners:

• Warm-ups: Click here for a sample task and related support tools
• Sentence starters & frames: Click here for a sample task and related support tools
• Word charts: Click here for a sample task and related support tools
• Support notes: Click here for a sample task and related support tools 
• A Spanish translation of the task: Click here for a sample task and related support tools