Resources and Tools for Elementary Math Specialists and Teachers

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Disabilities in Written Expression

This article from the NCTM journal Teaching Children Mathematics, provides insight into how disabilities with language and writing can affect students in mathematics. The authors explain how classroom activities can be part of an effective teaching strategy to help children whose math performance demonstrates a learning deficit.

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Learning-Disabled Students Make Sense of Mathematics

Five primary-grade students, identified as learning-disabled, benefited from instruction that focused on making sense of mathematics word problems. This article from the NCTM journal Teaching Children Mathematics includes examples of the students' work that demonstrate the students' ability to solve a variety of problem types and justify their solutions.

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Building Responsibility for Learning in Students with Special Needs

The authors of this article from the NCTM journal Teaching Children Mathematics, provide ways that elementary school teachers can help students with special needs build responsibility for their own mathematical learning. The article includes practical classroom applications for teachers of special needs students.

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Differentiation for Special Needs Learners

This article from the NCTM journal Teaching Children Mathematics explains the foundations underlying the process of instructional differentiation for students with learning disabilities in mathematics. The article illustrates its application using a lesson that emphasizes the five Process Standards highlighted in Principles and Standards for School Mathematics.

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Planning Strategies for Students with Special Needs: A Professional Development Activity

In this article from the NCTM journal Teaching Children Mathematics, the authors provide a professional development activity on planning strategies to make mathematics lessons more accessible for students with special needs. Classroom teachers that serve students with special needs will benefit from the planning strategies highlighted in this article.

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Enhancing Mathematical Learning in a Technology-Rich Environment

In this article from the NCTM journal Teaching Children Mathematics, teachers describe working collaboratively to plan mathematics lessons in a technology-rich environment. Addressing the needs of their diverse students, in particular, English Language Learners and students with special needs, the authors discuss how a technology-rich learning environment influences critical features of the classroom. They use classroom examples to show how technology tools amplify opportunities for extending mathematical thinking.

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Understanding Math Learning Disabilities

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This collection helps teachers understand the difficulties students with disabilities may encounter in the classroom. Teachers will learn to recognize, identify and address the signs of learning struggles. Knowing how various disabilities affect learning helps teachers plan lessons to meet specific students' needs. Supplemental videos, articles, resources, and blogs help educators further understand math and language learning disabilities and provide tips on modifying instruction to foster student progress.
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Why do teachers need to know about math learning disabilities?
Teachers must know about learning disabilities in mathematics in order to understand the difficulties that students with disabilities will encounter in the classroom.  Educators who understand math learning disabilities will be better able to recognize signs of these struggles early, and help to identify and address them.  Knowing how various disabilities affect learning enables teachers to plan lessons that include strategies to ensure that the needs of all students are being met.
These resources provide essential background knowledge to help teachers better understand a student with a learning disability in mathematics. This collection includes numerous videos, articles, webpages, and blogs that are intended to teach educators about math learning disabilities, ways these disabilities may affect learning, and tips on modifying instruction to reach these learners.

What are some of the math learning disabilities teachers may encounter?
The resources in this collection contain the research of several specialists in the area of math learning disabilities: Jane Emerson, Dr. Daniel B. Berch, Dr. Sheldon Horowitz, and Dr. Kate Garnett.  Dyscalculia, basic number processing difficulties, and disabilities related to reading are addressed.  Consideration of the struggles of students learning English as a second language is also included.

How will these resources help?
In order to successfully teach a student with dyscalculia, for example, the educator must understand what dyscalculia is and why the student is having difficulty.  If educators understand the disability then they can better recognize elements of their plans that may cause the individual to struggle and can adequately modify the learning materials.  In the videos by Jane Emerson and Dr. Horowitz, teachers are provided with insight into the nature of dyscalculia and ways in which students with dyscalculia can be taught mathematics.
If a student has difficulty associating numerals with values, then he or she must be provided with modifications that address this specific aspect of the concept being taught.  Students who struggle with reading or with learning English should receive accommodations that will address their needs.  Resources included in this collection suggest strategies, techniques, and modifications that help educators assist these students while enabling all students to progress.

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Journal Articles
Resources list: 
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-469~Dyscalculia: The Importance of Mathematics in the LD Equation
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-289~LD Topics: Math & Dyscalculia
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-470~Math Learning Disabilities
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-536~What is Dyscalculia?
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-591~Dyscalculia Symptoms
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-592~Discovering Dyscalculia
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-590~Dyscalculia Teaching & Help
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-544~Math LD: Identifying Basic Number Processing Difficulties
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-550~How Teachers and Parents Can Help Elementary School Students with Math LD

Strategies for Teaching Students Struggling With Mathematics

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This collection supports teachers working with students with learning disabilities or struggling with math in general. Teachers will find resources to engage learners, strategies to enhance problem solving and suggestions for intervention models. When teachers chose appropriate material and technology that reflects students' abilities and preferences, students have a better opportunity to learn new concepts. Several videos, articles and research reports help teachers with strategies and techniques to reach struggling learners more effectively.
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Why do we need different teaching strategies for students with math disabilities and those who struggle with mathematics?

All educators are aware that not all students learn in the same manner.  However, it is difficult to reach all learners all of the time.  Often it is the students who understand and participate in the lesson that drive the instruction, leaving the student who “hides in the back” completely lost.  The teaching strategies provided in this collection are intended to help teachers differentiate their lessons to reach those students who are struggling with mathematics.  These resources are comprised of webpages, articles, and research reports showcasing teaching strategies to reach these struggling learners, whether they are struggling due to a learning disability or they just have difficulty with math.

How will these resources help? 

These resources provide techniques teachers can use to assess and intervene when students are struggling in mathematics.  There are tips on how to engage struggling learners, strategies for improving problem solving, and suggestions for intervention models.  Several resources suggest interventions that address students’ needs in reading while learning math, as well as for English language learners.  Three of the resources discuss the specifics of choosing and integrating technology into instruction, which has been shown to benefit all learners.  There are also some longer items that include research studies on effective teaching strategies and response to intervention. 

Differentiation: Not just for those who are struggling with mathematics

Differentiation is often associated with reaching students who need more assistance, reteaching, or intervention.  However, differentiation should be used with all levels of learners.  Since we know that students have a preferred learning style, it makes sense to provide tasks that reflect students' abilities and preferences, and that challenge them at the appropriate level. .  Several of the resources in this collection provide insight into differentiation for all students, including one resource from NCTM on Tips for Supporting All Students: Equity and Diversity

PD Collection additional resource title1: 
Journal Articles
Resources list: 
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-461~Mathematics Instruction for Students with Learning Disabilities or Difficulty Learning Mathematics: A Guide for Teachers
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-473~Intensive Interventions for Students Struggling in Reading and Mathematics
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-570~Assisting Students Struggling with Mathematics: Response to Intervention (RtI) for Elementary and Middle Schools
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-467~Instructional Strategies: Teaching Mathematics
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-549~Improving Mathematics Problem Solving Skills for English Language Learners with Learning Disabilities
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-465~Differentiation and Grouping in Mathematics
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-231~Teacher Collaboration
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-466~Effective Strategies Brief
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-507~Adapting Reading and Math Materials in the Inclusive Classroom
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-464~Tips on Supporting All Students: Equity and Diversity
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-463~Differentiated Learning
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-468~Technology-Supported Math Instruction for Students with Disabilities: Two Decades of Research and Development
MATH-PATH-000-000-001-577~Improving Basic Mathematics Instruction: Promising Technology Resources for Students with Special Needs

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