How Can I Differentiate Math Instruction? By: Lauren Tucker
I chose this topic because this is something that I have struggled with in the past.
I believe that through research and practice, I am now properly differentiating instruction in my math class.
The targeted age for this is K-2 but I believe that this would work with any elementary age group.
Small Groups in Math!
Small group instruction has been a popularly concept in language arts for years. If it works in reading, why can it not work in math too!!
Small group instruction is a great way to differentiate instruction. When meeting in small groups, teachers can see the immediate needs of the students and address them as soon as they arise.
In my classroom, I have 20 students. I have divided the math students into four groups of five students.
Before centers begin there is a short whole group instruction time. Then the students break off into their groups. There are 4 centers going on at one time. Each group will meet with the teacher once a day for direct instruction. After every group has met with the teacher, there is a whole group wrap up and review time.
Beginning of Math Class
Starting of with whole group instruction allows all students to get focused and stay on task.
This is a great time in the lesson to relate the topic that is being learned with a real life situation. (Paddock 1992)
Rotation Time Begins
After the teacher has introduced the concept and related to a real life situation, the center time and rotation begins. Each group will remain in each center for about 10 minutes.
Teacher Led Center
This is where the direct instruction can take place. Teachers can teach strategies (such as counting on and the doubles real life strategies) in the small group setting to ensure that learning is taking place. (Bos and Vaughn 1994)
This center also allows for the students to use manipulative with guided instruction to improve learning skills. (Bryant, Bryant and Smith 2008:498)
Facts Review Center
In this center, the basic addition and subtraction facts are always being reviewed. (After multiplication and division and learned they can be incorporated into this center as well.) Signs are posted near this center with alliteration the rules of basic addition and subtraction as a constant reminder to the students. (Frank and Brown 1992)
In this center, students listen to a song about addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. These songs are fun and entertaining for all students and allows students to sing and have fun in math class. After the song is finished students will complete a worksheet on the fact they just sang about.
Songsforteaching.com is a great place to find these songs.
In this center, I usually have a math game that relates to the topic we are studying. This could be a math puzzle or matching game. This also promotes team building and models of good classroom social behavior.
After the teacher has met with each group, the teacher should bring the students all back together for a quick wrap up time.
I love reading books in my math class. This is a great time to read a book that covers the concept that was just taught. (Wilson 1993)
Differentiating in Math Class
Having small groups allows the teacher to meet the needs of all the students. This is beneficial to students with and without special needs.
In every center accommodations can be made for students with special needs.
Small groups takes more planning time but in the end results are worth it.
References Bryant, Brian R., Bryant, Diane P. and Smith, Deborah D. 2008. Teaching Students with Special Needs in Inclusive Classrooms. Boston: Pearson Education Inc. Bos, C. and Vaughn, S. (1994). Strategies for Teaching Students with Learning and Behavior Problems. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Frank, A.R. & Brown, D. (1992). Self-monitoring strategies in arithmetic. Teaching Exceptional Children, 24(2), 52-53. Paddock, C. (1992). Ice cream stick math. Teaching Exceptional Children, 50-51. http://www.songsforteaching.com/index.html Wilson, S. E. (1993). Mr. Three Feet. Teacher to Teacher: Strategies for the Elementary Classroom, 114-115. Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association.