VDOE Project Team, Yung Nguyen
ESL, English Language Development (ELD)
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Lower Primary
Virginia Department of Education
1st Grade, Argue, Compare and Contrast, EL, ELD, ELL, ELinst, ESL, English Language Learner, English Learner, KLU Argue, ML, Magnitude, Math, VDOE, VDOEResource, WIDA
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
Media Formats:
Downloadable docs, Text/HTML

Education Standards

1.5 Magnitude

1.5 Magnitude


This instructional plan combined Math SOL 1.5a,b and WIDA English Language Development Standards. The lesson includes several activity options. 

Note: Some images may not appear in the "Overview". To view all images in this instructional plan, click "download" at the bottom of the overview.

#GoOpenVA Tags: ELL/EL/ML/ESL/ELD, English Learner, English Language Learner, WIDA, 1st Grade, Math, SOL 1.5a, b, magnitude, compare and contrast, justify


Sample Instructional Plan

1st: Math





Language Objectives(s): interpret and construct mathematics argumentative texts by

Language Feature/ Essential Skill  1:


 {Tier 2} language {connected to language function/expectation}

Language Feature/ Essential Skill  2:

Content-Specific Technical language {Tier 3}

{explore the text, search see content curriculum framework, search the topic online for ideas}

Language Feature/ Essential Skill 3:

grammar skill most needed for the task

1.5 The student, given a familiar problem situation involving magnitude, will: 


 a)select a reasonable order of magnitude from three given quantities: a one-digit numeral, a two-digit numeral, and a three-digit numeral (e.g., 5, 50, 500); and


 b)   explain the reasonableness of the choice.



Identify and respond to others’ arguments through declarative statements to disagree/debate.


Comparative connectors: closer to, greatest, least, less, more, most, the same, different



Justifying connectors: based on, due to, feel, for this reason, in my opinion, think, believe,, disagree, agree, because, more reasonable, seems to be





estimate, fewer than, more than, items, objects




Use of relating verbs (have/has). For example,


This jar has _____

The jars have_____



Differentiating Language Expectations*

Entering (1) & Emerging (2)

Developing (3) & Expanding (4)

Bridging (5) & Reaching (6)



  • I think there are about______

________ .                 (#)



  • I agree/disagree with ____. There are  _______


______ because ______.        (object).


Create coherent texts (spoken, written, multimodal) using single words, phrases, or chunks of language to represent ideas


Elaborate or condense ideas through simple elaboration (familiar single nouns)



  • I believe there are about _____


__________ in  ________.

(objects)            (container)


  • I agree/disagree. I believe that there are more than/fewer than _____      _____                                                                                     

                                    (#)      (object)

because ___________.


Create coherent texts (spoken, written, multimodal) using short sentences linked together to convey an intended purpose


Elaborate or condense ideas through a few types of elaboration (adding a familiar adjective to describe a noun)





  • In my opinion, there seems to be about _____ ______ in _______.

(#)       (object)    (container)


  • I agree/disagree. I estimate that there are _________ in the _____ due to_      

        (#)                    (object)

Create coherent texts (spoken, written, multimodal) using short texts that convey an intended purpose using basic connectors


Elaborate or condense ideas through a growing number of types of elaboration (adding articles or demonstratives to a noun: those big fluffy white clouds)


*See the Proficiency Level Descriptors, page 336-337 for additional ideas in the WIDA English Language Development Standards Framework, 2020 Edition: Kindergarten-Grade 12


Essential Knowledge, Skills, and Processes

  • Integrate interpretive (reading, listening, viewing) and expressive (speaking, writing, representing) skills to learn and communicate ideas connected to grade-level content
  • Social-Emotional Skills and Connections:
    • Relationship Skills- communicating effectively
    • Self-Awareness- Identifying personal, cultural, and linguistic assets
  • Technology Skills


Essential Understandings

  • Language helps me communicate my ideas and thinking and learn new information.
  • My home language,my experiences, and my critical thinking skills help me learn about topics and ideas in a new language.

Materials and Resources

Lesson Plan adapted from


  • Justify/Defend Position Anchor Chart or Word Bank

  • Compare/Contrast Anchor Chart or Word Bank

  • Pile of one, 10, and 100 of the same object
  • Chart paper, sticky notes
  • Index cards
  • Checklist for formative assessment (see below)


Content and Language Learning Plan (T for Teacher, Ss for Students)

Welcome and Introduction to Learning

  • T starts with a welcome, community building task, and refers to norms and expectations for respect towards self and others.
  • T posts, explains, and unpacks the content and language objective(s). 
    • T explains that arguing is to defend your belief with evidence and reasoning. T says, “Today we will argue about why our estimates are reasonable.”
    • The language objectives are to use comparative and persuasive language to make and argue an estimate.
    • T reminds Ss that estimate means to make a smart guess based on evidence.
    • T tells Ss that magnitude means the size or amount of something.


Activating and Building Background Knowledge

  • T asks Ss to make an estimate about how many chairs are in the cafeteria (display an image of a chair from the cafeteria). If Ss need assistance, T says “Hmmm...I know that there are usually three classes in the cafeteria. Each class usually has 20 students. If I added all three classes together, I would get 60. I estimate (guess) that there are 60 chairs in the cafeteira.” T asks students to give a thumbs up if they agree (model) or thumbs down (model) if they disagree with your estimate.
  • T tells Ss that they will be estimating. T writes the word estimate on the board and has Ss say “I will estimate” three times).
  • T shows a slide with 1 chair, 10 chairs, and 100 chairs- labeled with A B C. T asks the Ss  to estimate how many chairs are in the cafeteria. T allows for a think-pair-share. Ss will complete this sentence frame: I estimate that there are ___ chairs in the cafeteria because ____.
    • Newcomer ELs may repeat what their partner says or share their answers in their home languages.
  • T puts some candy they have counted into a jar. At the end of the lesson, T presents the jar to the Ss. T asks the students to look at the jar, think about how many items they think are in the jar. T provides options of 2, 20, 200. T passes out an index card to each S and asks them to put their name on it and write a S that explains how they came up with their answer.



Learning Activity:  Shared Experience

Language Domains:  Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing

  • T shows a pile of one object, 10 objects, and 100 objects, so students get an idea of what each quantity looks like (all objects must be the same). T asks Ss to look at the piles and write how many are in the piles. Ss come up and place sticky notes with their estimates under each pile or add sticky notes on a virtual whiteboard.
  • Pointing to the 2nd pile, T asks Ss “Is it going to be more or less than pile 1?” Why do you think that?” T allows for a think-pair-share; giving Ss the sentence frame: The 2nd pile will be more/less because ____. 
  • T asks Ss “How can I figure out how many ___ are in each pile?” T allows Ss to share their ideas and guide them to grouping as a strategy to organize our materials to make counting easier. T counts each pile together. When getting to the third pile of 100, T makes sure to make groups of 10 and then counts them. T asks: “Which pile had the most and which pile had the least?” T instructs Ss to do a think-pair-write. Their sentence stems are:  Pile __ had the most. Pile __ had the least. 
  • T asks Ss “Does 100 look like a little bit more or a lot more than 10?” (T uses hands to demonstrate the words they are saying.)
  • For a shared experience, T may use a pumpkin with seeds inside, a bag of M&Ms/skittles, petals on a dandelion, etc.
  • T shows Ss a _____ and tells them, “Today we are going to estimate how many ____ are inside ______.” As T writes the numerals 5, 50, and 500 on the board, ask, “Do you think the number of ____ in _____ is closer to 5, 50, and 500?” T has Ss state their estimate, record it on the board, and ask them to explain their decision with a partner. T provides this sentence frame: I estimate that there are ____  ___in the _____ because _____. T calls on Ss to share their estimate.
  • T gives each student a sticky note and asks them to write their estimate. Ss place their estimate under the appropriate column.
  • T asks Ss for ideas for a quick way to count the ____ in the ___. T concludes by showing Ss that you can divide the objects into groups of five and tell Ss that we can count the piles by 5 (T doesn’t actually count the piles once finished).
  • T asks Ss to think about what they estimated at the beginning and allow them to revise their estimates if they want.
  • T asks Ss to justify why they think one choice (5, 50, or 500) is more reasonable than the others. T provides sentence stem: I think ___ is a good estimate because ____. Ss write down the stem. Newcomers can copy a completed sentence stem provided by the T.
  • As a class, skip count the piles and record the total on the board.


Learning Activity Option:  Practice Making and Defending Estimates

Language Domains:  Speaking


  • T puts three different magnitudes on the board, such as 3, 30 and 300. T gives each S an index card and asks them to write their name on it. T shows a collection of about either 30 or 300 objects on the smart board. Have Ss write the numeral that best represents the collection of objects.
  • T has each student share and discuss their estimates with these sentence frames:
    • Student 1: I estimate that there are ___because ______.
    • Student 2: I agree with ___. OR I disagree with ___. I believe ___ is a more reasonable estimate because _____.
    • Note: Provide Level 1 Newcomer ELs with a sentence to repeat after you.


Learning Activity Option:  Sage and Scribe

Language Domains:  Speaking and Listening

  • After Ss have written down an estimate, T has them go to as many other Ss as they can to record other estimates. Student A will say “what is your estimate”? Student B will say a numeral and Student A will record the numeral they hear.
  • T shows Ss a video that contains the use of the word “estimate”. Upon hearing a numerical estimate, Ss write down the estimates on an index card. At the end of the video, T has Ss listen to their peer’s estimates and write them down as a means of filling in “missing information” that they didn’t have. T shares answers and Ss put a check to how many estimates they correctly wrote down.



Learning Activity Option:  Focus on Reading

T guides Ss through echo, choral, and independent reading of a book about counting, grouping, or estimating. T can also create short story problems, if needed . T draws Ss attention to any important language features for the lesson (e.g., comparative or justification connectors). 


Additional Strategies for Advancing Beginning Literacy for Level 1 Newcomer ELs

  • T reinforces phonics and phonemic awareness skills needed (based on data such as a inventories) using the language expectations and any texts (written or audio)  in the lesson- e.g.,
    • if Ss need practice with CVC, T includes an additional activity in which the T models highlighting those words/word parts, saying them, model segmenting and blending the sounds in the words, having Ss repeat the words with the segmenting/blending, etc.
    • T has Ss sort key terms or specific words that feature specific phonics/phonemic awareness needs  by initial or final letters (e.g., blends, silent e).
    • T models identifying and counting syllables.
    • T notes any rhyming words from the lesson.

Formative Assessment Ideas and Suggested Tools:

WIDA’s Proficiency Level Descriptors on pages 338-339 can be used to create a rubric for language development and measure growth between units.


ELs should never be penalized for not using language beyond their current proficiency level without the proper supports and plenty of opportunities for practice followed by productive teacher feedback.


  1. Speaking Prompt: See the appendix of the lesson plan
  2. Writing Prompt: See the appendix of the lesson plan
  3. Checklist: Matrix of S names to record when Ss used the expected language during class (see Differentiated Box above) (virtually: to be used from analyzing the chat box, listening in on breakout rooms or whole class discussions/student whip-around responses to prompts, student-submitted recording)





Frame #1


  • I think there are about______

________ .                 (#)


  • I agree/disagree with ____. There are  _______


______ because ______.        (object).

Frame #2


  • I believe there are about _____   _______  in

             (#)       (objects)




  • I agree/disagree. I believe that there are more than/fewer than _____      _____                                                                                                                      (#)           (object)

because ___________.


Frame #3


  • In my opinion, there seems to be about _____ ______ in _______.
  • I agree/disagree. I estimate that there are _________ in the _____ due to_____.














Extension Ideas for the Other KLUs:

  • Narrate- personal experience estimating
  • Inform- about ways to make estimating and counting large quantities easier
  • Explain- how to estimate and why estimating is important

Additional Attachments, Links, and Resources

Connections to the WIDA ELD Standards Framework, 2020 Edition

The lesson plan above was created to connect to the Virginia context based on the following components listed in the WIDA English Language Development Standards Framework, 2020 Edition: Kindergarten-Grade 12



Language Functions from within the Language Expectation Set

Language Feature(s)

Argue (pg. 74)

Show relationship between claim and evidence, and reasoning through…

Connectors (because, so, and) to link claims with evidence and reasoning


























Appendix 1: Speaking Prompt


Note: Teachers may use student performance data to determine where to start the assessment tasks since they are tiered by proficiency level


T shows S the following visual.


  1. Gum Balls                                     2. Peppermint Sticks               3. Large Jars of Candy


Source for Gum Balls                                        Source for Peppermints                  Source for Large Jars


male teacher  Source

Now, let’s talk about magnitude. Look at this jar of gumballs. Let’s estimate the magnitude. Murat, do you think that there are 3, 30, or 300 gumballs in the jar?


young boy student  Source


I think there are about 30 gumballs in the jar because I see more than 3 and less than 300.



male teacher  Source

Now it’s your turn.

Do you agree or disagree with Murat’s estimate of 30 gumballs? Explain why you agree or disagree.

T listens to S answer and notes or records the response.

male teacher  Source

Let’s look at picture 2. A little girl is wondering if there are 9, 90, or 900 peppermint sticks in the jar. She thinks there are 90.

Murat, do you think there are more than 90 or fewer than 90 peppermint sticks in the jar? Explain your answer.


young boy student  Source

I believe there are fewer than 90 peppermint sticks. The sticks are very big and the jar is small, so I don’t think that the jar can hold 90 sticks.

male teacher  Source 

Now it’s your turn.

Look at picture 3. Murat is wondering if there are 3, 30, or 300 jelly beans in top jars. He believes there are 30.

Do you believe there are more than 30 or less than 30 jelly beans in the top jars? Explain why you agree or disagree with Murat.

T listens to S answer and notes or records the response.












Appendix 2: Writing Prompt


Note: Teachers may use student performance data to determine where to start the assessment tasks since they are tiered by proficiency level

Part A: Coffee Shop



Made with Canva

This part is called Coffee Shop. The coffee shop workers need to get the shop ready for the day. There needs to be 20 straws and 100 lids.

Now it's your turn to write.


You are the boss and you need to write a note for your employees. In your note, please tell them-

  1. Are there more than 20 or fewer than 20 straws?
  2. Are there more than 100 or fewer than 100 lids?
  3. What do your employees need to do to prepare the supplies?

You may use the questions above and the Word Bank to help you.




                  think                believe                         fewer than                         more than


                  lids                   straws                               because                              fix



















by the Virginia Department of Education, 2021