Strengthening Oral Language Skills in Mathematics for English Language Learners Through Desmos® Technology

Joanne C Caniglia, Lisa Borgerding, Michelle Meadows


A major focus of teaching English Language Learners (ELL) in mathematics classrooms is to provide multiple opportunities for students to use authentic language. Barrier games offer ELLs a balance between productive (speaking, writing) and receptive (listening, reading) language. In a barrier game, students work in pairs to complete an information gap activity where learners are missing the information they need to complete a task and need to talk to each other to find it. With Desmos®’ Polygraph program, students are provided online tools for transforming informal language into formal language similar to a Barrier Game. Following a background of barrier games in mathematics, this article will provide a detailed description of Polygraph and its potential for all students to learn and apply authentic mathematical language.


Academic language; information-gap activities; mathematics; Desmos

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Copyright (c) 2017 Joanne C Caniglia, Lisa Borgerding, Michelle Meadows

International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning. ISSN: 1863-0383
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