English Learners and Distance Learning: Compare and Connect

By Vanessa Cerrahoglu, Jennifer Wilson, and Liz Ramirez

We envision creating a world where learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics. Knowing and using math goes beyond calculating and evaluating. We create purposeful opportunities for students to engage in sense-making and use language to negotiate meaning with their peers. This calls for a language-rich environment where there’s space for all students to participate in argumentation and explanation.

What do these conversations look like now that we are no longer sharing physical space together? And how do we support our multilingual students who are gaining proficiency with English?

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Looking Ahead to 2020–21 in IM 6–8 Math and IM Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2

By David Petersen, Lead Curriculum Writer and
Kate Nowak, Director of K–12 Curriculum Strategy

This school year has been strange and stressful, and there is uncertainty about what next year will look like. Due to school closures in 2019–20, students will have missed important learning opportunities, and existing inequities may have become more pronounced. On top of that, it’s likely that many schools will not be back to normal in the fall. We may face shortened or fewer school days, more distance learning or hybrid face-to-face and distance learning, and ongoing school disruptions.

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English Learners and Distance Learning: Enhancing Access

By Liz Ramirez

Which students are experiencing success in today’s “distance learning”? What barriers do other students face?

While virtual learning platforms have made it possible for some live instruction to continue during school closures, this type of learning environment presents additional challenges for students who are learning English. Many of the language supports and resources that students rely on in the classroom are no longer accessible, including subtle ones like teacher gestures, word walls, and turning to a partner for clarification. Now…?

How do we support English learners in a virtual learning environment?

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Making Authentic Modeling Possible


The first thing you have to understand is that asking people to model with mathematics makes them mad. Not in all contexts, though! At a social gathering with a generally amiable and curious group of people, you might try floating a question like:

  • I wonder if graduates of more expensive universities tend to earn more in their careers?
  • Do you think the time it takes a pendulum to swing back and forth depends on how heavy it is?
  • What do you think is the most efficient way to get 2,000 calories a day?

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Preparing for the School Year, Updated with Tips for Staying on Pace

Last year, we put together some reading to help people get started planning their year with IM 6–8. Now, we have another year’s worth of blog posts to choose from, plus a shiny, new high school curriculum! So once again, we’ve gathered some posts from IM’s blog with different purposes to help get your year off to a good start.

By Kate Nowak

Before we dive into the links, if you are new to the IM curriculum, here are some tips to help you stay on pace

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Introducing IM Certified 9–12 Math

IM Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 courses are now available to all.

Alright, folks, this is not a drill: IM 9–12 Math is now available to all.

By Ashli Black

So now what? To help folks dive into the curriculum, we’ve put together some links to the curriculum and some relevant blog posts here. No matter what your experience with IM curricula, this post will give you a place to start.

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Making Peace with the Basics of Trigonometry

Six months ago, I hated trigonometry.

By Becca Phillips

In fact, when my daughter missed a week of school, she announced on her first day back, “Someone has to teach me trig because I missed the whole thing.” Her father jumped in, “That’ll be me. Your mother hates trig.”

At least that used to be true. I have since made peace with my least favorite topic, in large part because of my experiences with the Illustrative Mathematics Geometry course. Let me tell you ways that the IM Geometry course has helped.

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Making Sense of Distance in the Coordinate Plane

By Linda Richard, Curriculum Writer

I used to teach my students a catchy song to memorize the distance formula. We all had fun goofily singing this song. My students hummed it to themselves during tests and successfully calculated distances. I was pleased with this outcome—but what did my students actually understand about distance in the coordinate plane? In retrospect, very little.

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