To motivate ELLs to enter into math activities with interest, teachers need to sometimes take a non-traditional approach to get the class started. I have found two links that will definitely have the students laughing as they analyze the false logic of the comedians. One classic in this area is found in Bud Abbott and Lou Costello old vaudeville routine. 13 X 7= 28???? Only in the world of Abbott and Costello:) Have students discuss the multiplication and additions errors. Fill in language where needed, but let them explain to you why the reasoning on the part of the comedians is incorrect. The skit with Ma and Pa Kettle is more of the same and guaranteed to generate lots of laughter as well. Ma and Pa Kettle math lesson is also quite amusing and a fun warm up for kids. As Ma and Pa prove that 25 divided by 5 equals 14, even your weakest students will see the flawed logic. Either clip can be used at any grade level where that level of math is being taught.
Once the "ice is broken" and students are now ready to learn, you may want to weave in the following site especially for ELLs. Math Is Fun This site offers practice in all areas of mathematics including games, worksheets, practice questions, math dictionary, and puzzles. It provides short clear definitions of all the mathematical functions and terms. ELLs need simplicity here so that they don't get lost in language and forget the math.
Math Problem Solving Site This is a site that will allow the ELL to input the math problem and have the computer solve it with steps. It will never take the place of the teacher, but it will provide the teacher with more free time to support more students in class. Every teacher should have a computer with key websites in her/his subject area already loaded. This eliminates students wasting time trying to find websites OR trying to type them in correctly.
If teachers take into account the interests and personalities of their students before they start a math lesson, they will find their students more receptive and therefore more willing to work:)
ELL Teacher Pros