Supporting Students’ Language & Content Development in Elementary Math & Science

Course Description

All children, regardless of their linguistic and cultural backgrounds, bring to their learning of math and science unique experiences and knowledge about the world around them. These experiences, and their scientific, mathematical, social, cultural, and linguistic knowledge are assets that teachers can draw upon to advance students’ STEM learning.  

Multilingual students develop their English Language Proficiency (ELP) while simultaneously engaging in content learning. For them, language development takes place across all content areas, not just during reading and writing lessons. And the ways in which students need to use language varies between subjects. Understanding the unique ways in which language is used within math and science can allow teachers to intentionally support their students' content and language development, while simultaneously providing rigor and equitable access to quality instruction. Through that process multilingual students can become strategic users of language to negotiate meaning and achieve their purpose in STEM disciplines. 

In this course, educators will learn about how language is strategically used within math and science, drawing upon the WIDA 2020 English Language Development Standards Framework recently adopted by the state of Washington. Using authentic videos of classroom interactions in math and science lessons, sample STEM units, and connections to math and science standards, participants will develop a deeper understanding of the language expectations involved in doing math and science in elementary school.  They will also explore how these expectations might be supported to access content and further develop MLLs’ English Language proficiency. With this knowledge, participants will identify strategies to support multilingual and all students to meaningfully engage in STEM learning. Teachers will engage in planning for multilingual students in math and science lessons that they can apply at the beginning of the school year. 

All elementary school educators are invited to participate in this two-session course, including classroom teachers, multilingual/ELL teachers, instructional leaders, and paraprofessionals. 

Course Objectives 

Participants will... 

  • Learn about the key language uses within STEM as well as content- and grade band-specific language expectations 
  • Identify the key concepts and themes of their lesson/unit. Identify key language features of their instructional task and identify possible language objectives to set forward in their lesson to advance MLLs proficiency in the language of math and science. 
  • Plan to include specific language supports to be used with students at different levels of English Language Proficiency (ELP) 

Meet the Facilitator

Patricia Venegas-Weber

Dr. Patricia Venegas-Weber is a Research Scientist with the Promoting Asset-based Science Teaching for Emergent Language Learners (PASTEL) Project at the University of Washington, Seattle. She earned her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining the research team at UW, Dr. Venegas-Weber was a Literacy Professor at Seattle University. Her research centers around teacher learning, specifically the bilingual and biliteracy development of Dual Language Bilingual Teachers. She also works developing mainstream teachers' skills for working with emergent bilingual students in English-medium classrooms in the U.S. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed publications, including the Journal of Literacy Research (LRA) and the International Multilingual Research Journal.   

Kendra Lomax

Kendra Lomax is an early childhood and elementary educator who cares deeply about how young children come to know and love mathematics. She works in classrooms alongside teachers and leaders to learn together how to engage children in mathematics learning that values and affirms the wealth of mathematical, social, cultural, and linguistic knowledge of children and families.

Course Details 

  • This course takes place in-person on August 16th and 17th, 9:00am - noon at the Othello-UW Commons in South Seattle (4200 S. Othello St., Seattle, WA 98118). Participants will also complete approximately 1.5 hours of asynchronous reading and application between sessions. 
  • The registration fee for this course is $125. Teachers paying for their own registration fees may select the discounted rate of $100. 
  • Registration includes 7.5 STEM clock hours for full participation in the course.   
  • Registration is limited. Please join our waitlist if the course becomes full. We will contact you in the event that a seat becomes available or an additional date/time of the course is created.  For questions, please contact