A group of teachers are taking time off from summer vacation to learn more about teaching English learners early mathematics, and conveying complicated math principles to young students who are learning English.

Teaching English Learners Early MathematicsThe program they are attending is called TEEM or Teaching English Learners Early Mathematics Summer Institute.  It takes place at Ethan A. Chase Middle School in Menifee and offers new strategies for engaging students who do not have sufficient English to learn math in an English language classroom.

“It’s looking at processes and communication and their thinking,” said fourth grade teacher Erin Lipsitz. “So the focus is less on right and wrong, and more on effort and process.”

Now in its second year, the four year project focuses on elementary school students, starting with pre-kindergarten.  “The purpose is to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics to English learners, especially in the early grades,” said project director Madeleine Jetter, a math professor at Cal State University San Bernardino.

The US Department of Education has funded the program with a $3 million grant.  Another half million dollars comes from the Toyota USA foundation, the Packard Foundation, and the Heising-Simons Foundation.

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