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    Math and Special Education Blog

    How to boost fact knowledge and retention with these tested strategies

    How to boost fact knowledge and retention with these tested strategies

    You’ve been teaching your students their multiplication facts. It’s been a couple weeks but they seem to be getting it by the end of math class on Monday, so you’re feeling pretty good. Your students come back to class on Tuesday and you throw out some easy warm-up problems: 4 x 2, 3 x 5.

    And...crickets.

    It’s as if you never taught the concept! In my classroom, I sometimes felt like I was teaching and reteaching the same math facts over and over again. 

    What’s your next move?

    1. Devote 5 minutes at the beginning of math class to practice verbally skip counting.
    2. Find some storybooks in your library that are related to multiplication. Use these storybooks for your read aloud the next few days.
    3. Whip out those counters and start making groups: 4 groups of 2 counters and 3 groups of 5 counters, etc.
    4. Spend 15 minutes twice a week playing multiplication board games with your students in stations.

    My answer might surprise you! Keep reading to find out what it is...

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    Avoid the confusion: attack tricky math vocabulary head-on

    Avoid the confusion: attack tricky math vocabulary head-on

    What an odd number those odd numbers are! And the even numbers are even stranger!

    Learning the language of math is hard!  

    Today, we'll take a closer look at some examples of the kinds of math vocabulary that trip up our students, especially those with learning disabilities and English Language Learners.

    We'll talk about WHAT kinds of math words are tricky and HOW to help students overcome the confusion so they can communicate mathematically. Keep reading to learn more and download a free math vocabulary toolkit. 

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    The truth about fact fluency: what your 3rd-grade teacher didn’t know

    The truth about fact fluency: what your 3rd-grade teacher didn’t know

    Too often, we overemphasize speed and underemphasize understanding and fluency in the math classroom. Learning math facts can be especially tricky for students with disabilities, who might have difficulty memorizing facts and trouble seeing relationships between related facts.

    Remember those timed fluency drills your 3rd-grade teacher assigned? Turns out those drills aren't great at building true fact fluency!

    Today, I want to share what it really means to acquire “fact fluency.” Keep reading to find out why speed isn’t important and why flexible thinking is at the core of fluency.

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    Use these 5 actionable strategies today to grow your students' math vocabulary

    strategies to grow students math vocabulary
    Students with learning disabilities often struggle to understand and use the appropriate vocabulary when expressing their ideas in all content areas, including mathematics. Using correct mathematical terms can seem like learning a new language! Students won't simply absorb newly taught math terms when presented throughout the lesson. Instead, the best approach is to introduce new vocabulary through explicit instruction, in the context of meaningful math examples. Students will construct meaning as the teacher repeatedly connects the term with the definition as they are engaging in mathematical investigations. 
     
    Keep reading to learn some tips for increasing your students' understanding and use of math vocabulary.

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    6 easy ways to organize your math centers

    6 easy ways to organize your math centers
    Math centers are powerful tools to differentiate learning but they can get real messy real fast! It can be hard to keep your math centers organized and running smoothly. And what happens when you have students with disabilities who might be more impulsive, have difficulty reading labels, and need refocusing during independent work? In this blog post, I share 6 steps to help you set up your math centers and keep them organized all year around so your students with disabilities can work independently and successfully.

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