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Each week we will share one strategy that you could adapt to meet the needs of your diverse multilingual students. As you read through the strategy, you can keep in mind your specific ML students to determine how the strategy shared can support your learners during Tier 1 instruction. You can implement these instructional strategies to provide every learner with what they need to have academic and linguistic success!

This week we are going to encourage students to utilize academic vocabulary as they become a Math Coach!

  • Learning Target: I can coach my peers step by step on how to solve a math problem by using my academic vocabulary and dialogue.
  • Domain Focus: Speaking & Listening
  • Time: 15 Minutes
  • Setting: With Partners during Whole Group or Small Group
  • Instructional Strategy: The Math Coach

The Math Coach strategy encourages students to utilize their speaking skills while instructing a peer on how to solve a math problem step by step. Students are encouraged to include the correct vocabulary to describe how to complete each step of the math procedure. This strategy allows students to process the steps of the math procedure and authentically practice them multiple times. During this strategy, students will also be able to see their peers demonstrate how to apply math concepts and solve problems.

Teachers will assign partners to complete this ‘Coaching’ process:

  1. Assign partnerships several math problems after the modeling portion of your instruction.
  2. One of the students does the first problem while the second acts as a coach. The coach instructs the student on how to solve the problem and walks their partner through solving the problem step by step.
  3. Then, students switch roles for the second problem.
  4. When they finish the second problem, they get together with another pair and check answers.
  5. When both pairs have agreed on the answers, ask them to shake hands and continue working in pairs on the next two problems.

This strategy provides many opportunities for students to dialogue with their partners and make sense of the new information they have learned. Being the math ‘Coach’ will encourage students to take ownership of their language and actively participate in academic conversations using content vocabulary.

Support Strategies:

  • Write the steps on the board with examples for students to refer back to -Strategic Partnerships
  • Vocabulary Bank with content words -Provide sentence stems for each step as needed
  • Utilize visual models for solving math problems
  • Check out the PDF for an Example!

We would love to know how this tip worked for you! Please share any experiences with your PLC, or EL Coordinator or email to