Here is what we are doing at home during school closure time. I created a Google Classroom (anyone with Google account can create a class on the Google Classroom app) and posted links to IXL topics (photo at bottom). (NOTE: this is one method I use to differentiate at school.) If the school is providing online work, you can enter this into the classroom as well.
The following are screen shots of online math worksheet websites I use. The variety and the options in the criteria you select for your worksheets for some of these sites allows for differentiation in the classroom.
I will start with my favorite site, Math-Aids.com. This site allows for dynamic selection of criteria for each handout (see 2nd photo below) such as choosing the types of coins in problems for counting out the total value. The coin images are outstanding! It also offers content up to Calculus.
Super Teacher Worksheets is often used elementary schools. It offers content in science and language arts as well. It requires a $25 annual subscription which I easily find to be worthwhile.
Common Core Sheets is very useful site if you want to find handouts for specific standards by grade level (see 2nd photo below). It offers multiple versions of each handout.
Dads Worksheets provides a large bank of worksheets – multiple versions of each worksheet.
Math Worksheets 4 Kids offers multiple versions of each worksheet and content in science and language arts. There are many worksheets that provide unique support in how the work is presented, e.g. the Ratio Slope worksheet shown in the 2nd photo below.
Visual Fractions – title speaks for itself.
Worksheet Works is my 2nd favorite. It offers options in the criteria you choose, e.g. difficulty level (2nd photo below). They also offer unique types of handouts such as a maze with math problems to solve to find the path (2nd photo).
The Allowance Game is retail game tailored to students who are learning to count money.
I revised it to make it more authentic and more functional.
The students loved playing the game, it was engaging so they practiced the counting out money, I was able to collect data, and I was able to differentiate. When I co-taught a Consumer Math course, I would assign a para (instructional assistant) to facilitate the game with a couple students and to collect data.
To ensure the IEP team is on the same page as to what mastery of an objective looks like, the person writing the objective can take two steps:
The graph below is not data. A graph is a representation of summary statistics. This summarizes the data.
The chart below does not show the actual prompts, e.g. what number was shown to Kate, but it does show the individual trials. This is data, with a summary statistics at the end of each row. Here is a link to more discussion about data, with an example of a data sheet I use.
The data shown below addresses the student’s effort to solve an equation. Problem 21 is checked as correct and the error in problem 22 is identified. I can use this data to identify where the student is struggling and how to help. NOTE: the math objective would use the same verb as the problem: solve the linear equation.
The excerpt of a data sheet, shown below shows trials in a student’s effort to compare numbers.
Data below shows a student’s effort to evaluate integer expressions.
This applies to all areas beyond math. The chart above or the data sheet I linked above show data sheets that indicate the prompt and the results, with notes. For example, if I am asking my son to put on his shoes, each row of the data sheet is a trial with the outcome and notes.
Perhaps the vast majority of students with disabilities need support with math. Their challenges with math can be directly related to their disability or can be the result the effects of an ongoing struggle with math. The later results in what is termed secondary characteristics.
When I work with students with a disability, I first seek out background information about the student to identify what interests them, what reinforcers (rewards) can be used to enhance their performance, and what challenges and behaviors need to be addressed. Upon gather this information, I often decide to use a token sheet that is personalized for each student.
Below is an image of such a token sheet. At the start of our work together I felt the student in question needed immediate reinforcement for work completed to get him into a groove. I was also targeting a behavior in which he would draw dots on each digit he wrote, which slowed him down considerably. He would earn a Scooby (I would circle it) in the middle column for completing his work and an extra Scooby in the right column if he wrote digits appropriately (no dots). After 2 sessions, his dot writing dropped significantly to the point that I was able to remove the column on the right. As you can see at the bottom, 5 Scoobies resulted in iPad time.
This can be particularly effective for students who have more severe math anxiety, a fear of failure, or have ADHD. Such a token sheet can be included in the accommodations page of the IEP.
In his 1992 trip to Australia, President HW Bush gave the backwards V for victory sign. That happens to be the middle finger in Australia.
This story parallels what we encounter in special education. Several people may encounter the same idea, image, curriculum objective, lesson etc. but have a totally different perspective (see photo below).
To meet the needs of such students we must work from their perspective and not ours. We must meet their needs. We must first take inventory of our bias and our subjectivity in how we perceive students, learning, doing math work etc. Here is a site, Different Brains, that I have not fully investigated but that looks interesting and important.
One of my beliefs about the education is that teaching is built on a delivery based model. If teachers take certain steps the learning will happen – an educator’s version of Field of Dreams. Often the result is a focus on having students assimilate into the teacher’s class environment.
I subscribe to the exact opposite approach. Teacher’s should accommodate student needs as the focus of the classroom environment.
Below is a quote from a parent whose child benefited from my effort to be hyper responsive to her daughter’s instructional needs. The child had veto power over any activity or strategy I attempted. If what I used didn’t work for her I would try something else.
“Working with Randy has been life changing for my daughter.
Math was her biggest source of frustration and no matter how hard she worked it never made sense. Teachers would tell me she was ‘doing awesome’ but she was really just following steps without understanding any of it. I thought she was going to go through life unable to even buy a candy bar without being taken advantage of.
Randy changed all that. He is able to break math down in a way that makes sense. He is able to identify what is confusing her and find different ways to explain it. He makes it meaningful for her.”
It is difficult to individualize instruction in a whole class or small group setting. I created and taught the curriculum for a Consumer Math course at the high school where I teach. For a class of 10-12 students, all with an IEP, I developed an approach that allowed me to individualize the instruction for each students.
In the photo below is an example of a folder set up I used with the students in Consumer Math. Each student would have a dedicated folder, kept in the room and updated daily. The smaller paper shows the individualized agenda. The other paper shows an example of how the folder can be used as a resource. Student computer login information, accommodations like a multiplication table or notes can be secured inside the folder. The agenda would be changed out each day. (In case you are wondering about the label in the agenda, “Math Group 4.” This particular folder was used in a special education training session for teacher candidates.)