Using Blended Learning/BLEND in ELL Math Classrooms

Today’s Contributor: Shary Shimray

Int 7I have been teaching Math at International High School since 2004. Currently, I am teaching Algebra II, Geometry and Fundamental of Computer Science. I serve as Math Department Chair & Campus Innovation Coach.

With the advancement of the technology, the traditional setting of the education system can not match rapid change of the society.  Student’s success is more than just mastery on academic knowledge, it requires a full range of foundational skills including social-emotional skills and the ability to transfer knowledge and skills to new contexts.

BLEND design allows teachers to create different learning pathways that meet students where they are and it  ensures that each student can be successful despite different learning styles and different language backgrounds. BLEND learning environment seeks to create an empowering and responsive system that is designed to build trust and challenge inequity at the same time.  Furthermore, it allows both teachers and students to share their creation by using either External URL or External Tool.

They can use Tech tools such as Whiteboard, Explain Everything, and Screencastify, to create video for explaining, teaching or giving ( or submitting) assignments. These tools allow students to have more opportunities to speak English, learning at their own pace, anytime, anywhere, and whenever they need or want. It also helps the absent students or lower achieving student to catch up without slowing down the whole class progress.

BLEND learning environment also allows teachers to be creative in incorporating the best aspects of online and face-to-face instruction. Since all the learning resources and assignments are online, it is very helpful for ELL students to reach their learning goal.

Blended learning environment helps teachers meet the challenge of delivering relevant and engaging learning experiences for all students. In order to meet where students are, educators need to provide flexible learning environment (Blended learning both with or without technology), personalized learning pathway (goal setting with students’ choices and voices) to guide students toward individual mastery in order to capture the learner’s profiles (students’ creating ePortfolios in the Blended course).


Here are some examples:

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Module Lesson Pattern in ELL Classroom:

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With additional online tools embed in BLEND course leads to creating another dimension of learning. For example: The data from IXL (photo below) allows teachers to monitor students’ progress as well as in time intervention. Reteach the concept or make another video to explain the concept again.

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It is always good to show students’ work to the whole class so that they get a better understanding of the mathematical concepts. Before the BLEND, it was difficult to find space in the classroom to post students’ works. Now it is much easier to display it online. The advantage is that students can always go back to review or revise or even make connection with  newly learned concepts.

Here are two examples:

Google Sheet ( Transformation of Quadratic Function)                     Padlet ( interior and exterior polygons):



Additional resources that are helpful for working with ELLS:

Online Tools:

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  1. Thanks for this Shary. I couldn’t agree more. I love that you included desmos on your list of tools. The teacher created activities on desmos have revolutionized my teaching. They are super engaging and the immediate feedback keeps my kids motivated. One of my favorite features is “share with classmates” which allows students to see the written responses of peers after they’ve submitted their own. It has helped to increase the written and spoken academic language.

  2. I second many of the things you’ve said here. I love that you included desmos on your list of tools. The teacher created activities have revolutionized my teaching. The immediate feedback that is provided to my kids along with the share with classmates features have really upped the use of academic language, both written and spoken in my room.

  3. Hello Shary, I agree with you that BLEND allows teachers to create different learning pathways that meet students where they are. Our campus is approximately 87% Latino, so I am encouraged by your post that blended learning allows ELL students to move at their own pace! We are an elementary campus, and are having a challenging time getting started with blended learning in math – thank you for your inspiration and showing us what you’ve done! I shared this post with our campus!

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