Imagine Math Supports English Learners

Imagine Math aligns with the EL instructional principles and practices adopted by the Council of the Great City Schools*

4. Academic Language

5. Strategic Scaffolding

*Council of the Great City Schools. 2016. A Framework for Re-envisioning Mathematics Instruction for English Language Learners.

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Aligned to CGCS Framework

Imagine Math aligns with instructional principles outlined by the Council of the Great City Schools’ (CGCS) A Framework for Re-envisioning Mathematics Instruction for English Language Learners and has been awarded the opportunity to raise math achievement for English learners (ELs) within the nation’s largest urban public school systems.

 With nearly five million English learners (ELs) in our nation’s schools, Imagine Learning acknowledges the critical need for instructional materials that provide equitable access—for all students—to on-grade level mathematics instruction.

The Council of Great City Schools (CGCS) and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the country’s second-largest school system, recently announced the establishment of a nationwide “bench of contracts” with Imagine Learning and two other publishers who have met the Council’s pre-determined quality criteria for EL math materials. This means that school districts across the nation can now use these contracts to purchase Imagine Math to support teachers of English learners.  

Rigorous Tasks

Providing rigorous tasks is important to student learning and development, continually moving students forward in their learning. Imagine Math ensures a balance between access and mathematical rigor by respecting the expectation for cognitively demanding tasks that challenge students’ thinking and communication while maintaining an appropriate level of rigor at all times. 

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Various journaling opportunities in the program prompt students to deepen their mathematical understanding by representing their math knowledge concretely, explaining their mathematical thinking in their own words, and creating their own representations of evolving understanding. Scaffolded journaling supports, such as sentence stems, sample problem solving strategies, sample journal entries, and linking words, provide multiple entry points to connect and convey mathematical understanding. 

Application tasks are intended to be used after a unit of study to provide students with relevant and authentic challenges, helping students make connections among concepts in the real world. 

Productive Struggle

When students are given ample opportunity to grapple with problems and engage in productive struggle, they learn to stretch and strive in their learning. Encouraging productive struggle means creating opportunities for students to engage in challenging problems and then offering appropriate support to ensure experiences of academic success.

Imagine Math provides opportunity for productive struggle by offering three levels of support for students to utilize when they encounter challenging problems. Two math helps foster productive struggle while ensuring students get the support they need. One-on-one online teaching becomes available to students after they have attempted a problem, accessed the math tools, and demonstrated that additional support is needed to understand and master a concept. If the online teacher deems even more support is needed, they can incorporate a two-way interactive whiteboard. Lastly, Imagine Math’s Proactive Intervention system is triggered when a student demonstrates need for additional support, encouraging students to remain productively engaged.


Multiple Representations

Discussions and explorations via multiple representations deepen conceptual understanding of math. Students encounter a variety of representations in each Imagine Math lesson via models, symbols, and diagrams to assist with learning and deepen understanding.

Multiple representations are also included throughout Imagine Math Application Tasks to help students develop, communicate, and connect mathematical concepts and procedures. The math tools found in Imagine Math give students another way to concretely represent their mathematical thinking. 


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Academic Language

Mathematical discussions are critically important to conceptual development. Academic language allows students to not only be able to reason and problem solve, but also to express their conceptual understanding. Additionally, students need academic language to understand others’ explanations and to be ready to challenge others’ ideas. 

Multiple journaling opportunities within Imagine Math encourage students to reflect on their learning and communicate their growing mathematical understanding. 

Application Tasks provide opportunities for students to engage in mathematical exploration, collaboration, and peer to peer and whole group discussion. Each of these tasks includes language objectives, cognates, academic and supporting vocabulary, and structured opportunities for mathematical discourse. 

Imagine Math teachers facilitate mathematical discourse by encouraging students to utilize mathematical language to communicate their evolving conceptual understanding.

academic discourse


Strategic Scaffolding

Imagine Math offers multiple scaffolds designed to empower students as they work toward mastering grade level standards.




First language support

Sample linking words and phrases

Sentence stems

Contextualized vocabulary

Math tools


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