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Tony Thompson and Stephen Sproule

A framework to aid instructional decision-making regarding classroom calculator use. The guide focuses on both teacher goals and the students' needs and abilities. The reader is challenged to rethink the possible role that calculators can serve for all students, in particular, as a classroom accommodation for students with special needs.

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Karen Karp and Philip Howell

Ways that elementary school teachers can help students with special needs build responsibility for their own mathematical learning. Includes practical classroom applications for teachers of special needs students.

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Edited by Dorothy Y. White

In 1997, the Individuals with Disabilities Act mandated access to the general education curriculum for children with disabilities. In response, mathematics teachers and educators have developed creative and innovate ways to meet the mathematical needs of their diverse students. Students with attention deficits, memory problems, visual and auditory processing difficulties, motor disabilities, and information-processing deficits require special accommodations in the mathematics classroom in order to reach their potential in mathematics. English-language learners and students who need further mathematics instruction beyond their current grade level also need special modifications. Recognizing and understanding the learning challenges of our special needs students and identifying teaching strategies to facilitate their mathematics learning is the focus of this special issue of Teaching Children Mathematics. This focal subject reflects NCTM's recommendation in Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (2000) that “all students should have access to an excellent and equitable mathematics program that provides solid support for their learning and is responsive to their prior knowledge, intellectual strengths, and personal interests” (p. 13).

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David Allsopp, Louann Lovin, Gerald Green and Emma Savage-Davis

The national council of teachers of Mathematics advocates a balanced approach of teaching both procedural and conceptual knowledge (NCTM 2000). In practice, however, students with special needs often receive a great deal of algorithmic instruction because mastering algorithms is what we “see” them struggle with the most. Even with a heavy dose of algorithmic instruction, many of these students still have difficulty performing algorithms efficiently. Furthermore, without developing conceptual understanding while learning algorithms, these students will never understand foundational mathematical concepts.

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Amy R. Brodesky, Fred E. Gross, Anna S. McTigue and Cornelia C. Tierney

In today's mathematics classrooms, teachers are confronted with an increasing range of learners, including students with special needs. On the national level, 13.2 percent of students have identified disabilities. This translates to 6,195,113 students, a jump of 30 percent from 1990 to 2000 (National Center for Education Statistics 2001). The Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act of 1997 (IDEA) mandates that students with disabilities have access to the general education curriculum. This legislation has led to an increase in the number of students with disabilities who are included in regular education classes. Many classroom teachers feel overwhelmed by the challenges of responding to the learning needs of all their students. We often hear teachers say, “I want all my students to be successful in math, but I'm not sure what to do. I don't have training in special education and I don't have much support.”

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Diana Treahy and Susan Gurganus

Teachers describe five proven, effective co-teaching strategies for collaborative partnerships with special education instructors and other professionals.

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Lou Lovin, Maggie Kyger and David Allsopp

With the advent of legislation such as the current Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the inclusion of students with disabilities in schools has steadily increased. More recently, the level of language and cultural diversity represented in public schools has also increased. Consequently, today's classrooms include students with a wide range of learning needs. For example, Carlos has a language-based learning problem, Ben struggles with attention problems, Maria's weak reading skills interfere with her learning in all areas, and Jason has superior cognitive ability but great difficulty with mathematics. Classrooms rich in diversity most decidedly do exist—classrooms that give all students opportunities to learn about differences and abilities and about how to celebrate individuality while building communities. They can be wonderful learning environments for our children.

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M. Kathleen Heid

A cautious return to public concern for the education of gifted and talented youth has been evident in recent years. Although the latter half of the seventies produced an increase in funding, personnel, statutes, and policies concerned with the education of the gifted and talented, financial support of programs still falls considerably short of meeting the needs of these young people (Mitchell and Erickson 1978, p. 15).

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Christine S. Losq

Why 10-frame tiles offer an effective alternative to base-10 blocks for teaching place value. The authors further describe how teachers can use the 10-frame model to help children develop understanding of number and place value concepts and skill with computation.

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Tonya Bartell, Anita Wager, Ann Edwards, Dan Battey, Mary Foote and Joi Spencer

The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) do not make any promises about the teaching practices that should be used to support students' enactment of the standards. Thus, equity gets framed as achievable through making the standards a goal for all students. We know from research on past reform efforts that standards without explicit (or companion) teaching practices, and teaching practices without explicit attention to equity, will inevitably result in the failure of the standards to achieve goals for students. This commentary provides a framework for future research that hypothesizes research-based equitable mathematics teaching practices in support of the CCSSM's Standards for Mathematical Practice, connecting research, policy, and practice in order to realize the equity potential of the CCSSM.