# Teaching Math-What to teach

Discussion in 'Special Education Archives' started by nance, Dec 1, 2002.

1. ### nanceRookie

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Dec 1, 2002

Hello everyone. I am a special ed teacher in an elementary school and work with LD students, some with emotional problems. I teach 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders (whose skill levels are 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and some 5th). My problem is that I have been asked to use the regular education curriculum textbooks with these students. So I am using the teacher's basal, etc. to plan lessons. This is my first year at this particular school teaching only math. My question is this. How do I decide what is important to teach my students. We are working at a lot slower pace (naturally) than the regular ed. students. I cover about 2 lessons a week as it takes about 2 days to cover the lessons (and I'm not sure that is enough time!) I have been teaching spec. ed for 6 years now and still feel green at it. (Life time learner, ya know!). At times I think I should only be working on goal areas, but then we have state standard testing coming up in February and there is too much for them to handle with that (and unrealistic too). So if any of you could share what you do. I am also going to talk with my principal and the teacher who taught them math last year, but appreciate any of your thoughts as well.
Thanks ~ Nance

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Dec 7, 2002

I would say that whatever you decide upon, make sure that you include hands-on learning, memorization and sufficient practice. In other words, a combination of learning styles. Any teacher will agree that it is absolutely essential for continuing progress that students have ALL multiplication facts memorized by the end of 5th grade. They should be comfortable with the correlation between multiplication and division and capable of doing long division with at least single digit divisors. Fractions may need to be done almost completely with manipulatives, depending on ability levels. Place value is extremely important. You can use commercially available products, adapt the rod system, play games which involve trading up ten units for the next higher unit, etc. Relative value among place values is an important concept.

4. ### GuestGuest

Dec 7, 2002

Math, what to teach

I"m so glad you're asking Here's what goes through my mind when I'm teaching older students who have huge canyons in their math "knowledge" who, I find out, generally get shoved through a year's curriculum every year and never get any of it.

PLease, use the "regular" book 'cause you have to-- but teach to mastery and find lots of other ways to teach, too. I work with college students at our junior college who are taking math. Many of these folks have a special ed history, so whatever you do don't assume your kids aren't college bound at least in pursuit of a certificate of some kind.
Teach them *what* multiplication is, and teach them *what* addition and subtraction are -- get them doing lots of simple "story problems." See if the library's got any Marilyn Burns' books, and then slow those down and give them more pictures and concrete examples.
If they leave your classroom actually knowing what "finding the difference" between things is, you'll have done them a big favor.
When I taught seventh graders I was pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoyed lots of practice with the stuff they were good at, including basic facts drills -- but just a few facts at a time so they weren't spending most of their time guessing. (There's practice like this at my website in the math section of www.resourceroom.net . )