Friday, February 22, 2008

Math Strugglers (Tammi Sani)

Tami Sani, I hear you are wonderful and have incredible results at teaching math to students who consistently struggle. Do you have any suggestions for general classroom teachers to improve our practices with students who frequently struggle? Joe
Dear Joe,
First and foremost thank you for your kind words. I feel quite honored receiving the pixie pointer. Teaching at Chets alongside incredible leaders, coaches, and teachers has made quite a difference in the way I tackle math with my students. Here are a few tips that I find useful with the children in my care.

* manipulatives, manipulatives, manipulatives...... Your visual and tactile learners will have an extremely difficult time grasping new skills unless manipulatives are used. I find that you have to model repeatedly to your struggling learners HOW to use the manipulatives.

*TRUST..... Earning a struggling child's trust and getting them to the point where they communicate with me what they don't understand is key to my success with them.

*mnemonics......... My students know that I live by the motto "Whatever it takes!" and I will do whatever it takes to get them to commit math terms to memory and understand math concepts. I sing, make up poems, rap, etc, etc, etc.

*repetition..... A national conference my special ed. team and I attended years ago had a presenter share with us that most learning disabled children need to hear something 1400 times before it is committed to memory. This really helped me become more patient with my learners. Don't think that just because you've taught a skill more than once that everyone is going to grasp it. Your naive learners will need repetition.

I hope you find these useful. I will be glad to share my songs, rhymes, etc. with you. Happy teaching!


No comments: