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    Monday, October 8, 2012

    Teaching Numeration to Students with Moderate-Intensive Needs in the Special Education Classroom

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      Do you have students with significant learning needs in your math class or self-contained special education classroom? I have been there! Keep reading for some great tips on meeting their needs and also for some great freebies!

      This year I have 7 students who are just beginning to learn their numbers. Initially, I tried finding cutesy number activities that aligned with our weekly theme. However, I quickly learned that these activities were too complicated for this particular group of kids. 

      This group has many needs. Most of them struggle visually, either due to vision issues such as difficulty with tracking or visual attention or due to visual sensory sensitivity. Therefore games that featured apples or buses that just happened to have numbers in the middle of them were too hard for these students to process visually and they were unable to focus on the most important aspect of the activity, the number. 

      Additionally, this group needs TONS of repetitions and structure. They need to repeat saying the number, seeing the number, and counting that number of objects. Additionally, I needed to find a way to present the new information/number in a similar way to how I taught the previous number. This eliminates several variables such as needing to teach them new directions to an activity or the students needing to learn to process information given in a different way. The most important goal was for them to learn the numbers. After they master the numbers, then I will begin using other activities to assist with generalization. 

      Finally, due to their visual and processing needs, these students also struggled with any one-to-one correspondence activities. Again, I felt I needed to find a way to teach the act of counting in a very structured way. 

      I am now in the process of creating a modified numeration curriculum for this set of students. This is what I have created so far:

      1. Daily Powerpoint Review 

      (requires 1 copy of PowerPoint/Slides presentation to be projected)
      • Project number review PowerPoint on the whiteboard (I've created a FREEBIE to tackle this first step for you!) 
      • Have students take turns identifying previously introduced numbers. 
        • Hide any slides of numbers that have not been introduced. 
        • Various colors are used to address visual sensory needs.
      • For additional sensory input have students stand on an uneven surface (one foot on phone books, rocker board, etc.)

      I adapted steps 2-4 from the book Teaching Reading to Children with Down Syndrome. I have found this match, select, say method to be extremely useful when teaching basic concepts (sight word reading, vocabulary, numbers, letters, etc) to my neediest learners and it is my form of Discrete Trial Training since I don't have a specific DTT program. In my opinion, the most important aspect of this method is keeping it very fast-paced. This keeps the student engaged and trains their brain to work quickly to ensure automaticity.

      2. Match

      (requires 2 sets of flashcards, copied on cardstock and laminated for durability
      • Introduce target number flashcard, say the number, and have the student repeat
      • Lay flashcard in front of the student.
      • Introduce identical flashcard, say the number, have the student repeat
      • Give flashcard to student and instruct to match (“Put 3 on 3”).
      • Repeat 5x.

      3. Select (Receptive ID)

      (requires 1 set of flashcards, copied on cardstock and laminated for durability)
      • Lay out a field of 3 number cards (1 target, 2 mastered)
        • If introducing number 1 use 2 blank distracter cards
      • Direct student to touch cards in random order (Touch 2, Touch 1, Touch 3)
      • Rearrange cards and repeat 5x
        • If students struggle with this step, return to Matching and repeat steps

      4. Say (Expressive ID)

      (requires 1 set of flashcards, copied on cardstock and laminated for durability)
      • Shuffle cards and have the student identify each one
      • Place easily ID’d cards aside and shuffle missed cards back into the stack
        • If student struggles with this step, return to Selecting and repeat steps

      I have created a set of flashcards with 6 different fonts needed for this Match-Select-Say sequence as part of my 15-Minute Multisensory Math and Reading Lesson Templates for RTI & SpEd.

      5. Multisensory Generalization Activities

      Finally, I work on generalizing and practicing numeration skills through multisensory activities. These are also a staple of my 15-Minute Multisensory Math and Reading Lesson Templates for RTI & SpEd which includes:
      • Weekly lesson plan templates for letter and number skills
      • Easy reference multisensory activity lists
      • Data collection forms


      Some additional generalization and multisensory practice resources I use in my classroom include:

      6. Multisensory 1-20 Number Practice

      Finally, I created a workbook for numbers 1-20 which includes a very predictable format for continuous practice, independent work, review, and/or assessment. I love materials that follow a similar format with changing content because then my students only have to worry about learning to content and not the expectations of the activity. These number practice workbooks include the following steps:
      • Color Number
        • extra exposure to number
        • repeat number several times while students color (“I like how you colored number 2”, “You’re 5 looks great”, etc)
      • Touch and Count
        • Have students point to the numbers as they count
      • Color and Count
        • Have students count as they color the stars
        • MODIFICATION: Use bingo dotters if the student is unable to color quickly while counting
      • Cover and Count
        • using counter discs or tokens, have students cover black dots as they count out the designated number of items
      • Number Writing (#11-20)
        • For the teen numbers, I included some number writing as students are typically demonstrating higher-level skills at that point. 

      My Multisensory 1-20 Number Practice Workbook for Special Education also includes the TPT Digital Easel Activity so students can practice using technology too!

      Check out these digital features here: 

      Some parents really enjoy carrying over the same types of activities you are doing in the classroom, with their children at home so I created these FREE Multisensory Activity Lists for Practicing Basic Math & Reading Skills at Home. I love sending these home during parent-teacher conferences, IEP meetings, or for summer practice. 


      Kendra said...

      Thank you so much for this post! I have been having the exact same struggle with students who sound a lot like yours. Reading your post helped organize my thoughts about what I can do to help my kiddos with numeration.


      Unknown said...

      My mom is teaching in a primary school. In the previous month, she had difficulty teaching numeration to students like you. She found her solution by getting flashcard in: Because its interesting functions and great databases, her students feel excited. They improved their skills faster! I hope I could bring a useful suggestion for your teaching.

      Anonymous said...

      I somehow missed this when you first posted this. Thanks for such a great post! It's really helpful, as I teach kinds with some of the same struggles as you do. Definitely bookmarking this!