Differentiated Instruction

A Fantastic Co-teaching Resource!

Sonya Kunkel – www.kunkelconsultingservices.com

Hello Dr. Nicki Fans!

Co-teaching can be one of the best uses of human resources if the practice is well-considered.

In mathematics, students that struggle with learning often need to follow the CRA sequence to create enduring understanding of math concepts – begin with the Concrete, move to Representational examples, and then incorporate the Abstract application.  To embed this in math instruction, co-teaching offers us an opportunity to differentiate instruction to shape this instructional sequence.  For example:

Two teachers can employ a strategy that I call:  “flip/flop switch.”  Students are divided into two homogeneous groups based on a formative pre-assessment.

During a 40 minute lesson block in a classroom of 24 students, 12 or so of the more capable students work as a group in one part of the room with the general education teacher  learning the new lesson for the first 20 minutes.  The general education teacher begins teaching with concrete manipulatives (concrete) and no paper.  Next the general education teacher has pairs practice with the manipulatives and the students draw their answers from the manipulatives (example:  using shapes to represent numbers- representational).  Pairs report out and then students learn and practice with number sentences (abstract) as presented by the teacher through instructional discovery.  Group A

At the same time, in the same room, the specialist teacher works with the students that did not score well on the pre-test and “pre-teaches” the same skill above.  This teacher sticks to concrete and representational activities.  The specialist teacher instructs the underlying concepts to the lesson above (basically- pre-teaches the lesson and or needed skills associated with the lesson with concrete and representational means only). Group B

After 20 minutes, the groups switch.  The general education teacher now provides Group B with the same lesson (perhaps with some differentiation) as Group A received.  Group B enters the lesson with background knowledge and practice.  Some examples are eliminated or extended as needed.  The teacher follows the same CRA sequence and provides students with extra practice with the abstract version of the work.

The specialist teacher provides Group A with an enrichment exercise.  The teacher reviews the lesson using the CRA sequence and asks students to write about the CRA relationship in application activities.

Co-teaching requires co-planning.  Plan for small group instruction in your co-teaching classroom.  Use flexible grouping practices that incorporate various assessments and learning style considerations.   See my book:  Advancing Co-teaching Practices: Strategies for Success, on Amazon.com for many more ideas.

Happy Mathing!

Sonya Kunkel, Ed.S.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”  Helen Keller

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More Ideas for Teaching Factors and Multiples: Math Notebooking

These are some of my favorite Pinterest Ideas:  Math Notebooking – JUST DO IT….I love interactive notebooking!

Another idea

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Math Power Towers: Great Guided Math and Math Center Activities

Math Power Towers are Great Fun! Power Towers are any type of cup that you write the equation on the inside and the answer on the outside (bottom) and then have students take the cups, look inside and solve, check outside and if correct they add the cup to a structure they are building.  They can work alone, in partners, or in groups.  It is super fun!  Students are practicing all the different operations, depending on their grade level.

I just finished playing power towers this afternoon with a family friend,  Stephanie.  Stephanie is a funny, joyful, little soon to be first grader. It was very insightful for me because I got to watch and see how Stephanie figured out the problems.

Stephanie, who had just announced that she successfully passed kindergarten, was using a “counting all strategy.” As we played, I encouraged her to use a “counting on” strategy.  She took to the idea.  I could see where a few days of this type of practice and she would be easing into that strategy.  As the teacher, you could do this in a  guided math group and take notes on what  different students are doing.

P.S. I love the many opportunities this game structure offers.  Here are a few ideas. You could have the students reading numbers (inside a number and outside the word), working on particular types of facts (doubles, doubles +1, lucky 8&9) and working on place value ideas (expanded form on inside and short for or word form on outside).

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Think Dot Activities: Great Math Center Activities

Think Dots is a great structure to provide for students to practice math concepts and skills.  Think Dots are designed with readiness levels, interests and learning styles in mind.  You can use these activities as on-going assessments.

Think Dot mats can be done with a variety of activities.  Each student rolls the die and then does the corresponding activity.  For example, if a student rolls a 1, then they do the activity designated in that square.  Here are a few math Think Dot ideas.

Money Think Dots Mats

Think Dots Resources

Fraction Think Dots

Algebra Think Dots

Word Problem Think Dots

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Great Differentiation Packet To Inform Math Centers and Guided Math Groups

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Here is a great resource for making great task cards.  It has plenty of examples!  In the primary grades I often put pictures of whatever the task is with students doing that task.  Sometimes, I use illustrations.  It is important to remember that young students and many second language learners need picture clues to help them.  I also write the directions in STEPS instead of a paragraph form.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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More Great Math Talk Materials:

Here is a great find for working on math talk in your classroom!  Look for these highlights:

1) Great discussion about building a culture of talk and the levels of talk in a classroom

2) A few sample units illustrating student talk and showing their thinking

3) Graphic Organizers for creating math partners

4) Game Templates

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Checking for Understanding Throughout the Lesson: Great Guided Math Strategies

It’s really important to check for understanding along the way not just at the end of the trip.  It’s a horrible thing to fly all the way to Los Angeles from NY and find at the end of the trip that some of your kids are still at JFK (the airport). So to avoid all that here are 5 great ways to check in before your students check out.

1. Fist of five – The kids raise their fingers to show their level of understanding.  A fist means, “I’m lost.”  1 finger means – “I don’t get it.”  2 means “I barely get it.”  3 means “I kind of get it.”  4 means “ I get it pretty much,  although I still have a few questions.”  5 means “ I get this.  I understand it.  I could even teach it to someone else.”

2.  The Windshield – In this technique the windshield is a metaphor for understanding.  So, the teacher might ask:  “Who has muddy windshield?” The students who are totally lost will say they do.  Then the teacher might ask “Who has some bugs on their windshield?” The students who kind of understand will say they do.  Then, the teacher will ask, “Who has a clear windshield?” The students who are getting it will say they do.  I have seen this used really effectively with upper elementary students.

3. Signal Cards– This is where everyone has 3 cards and the teacher asks students to raise different colors to signal their levels of understanding.  The teacher might say, “If you get it raise the green card, if you kind of get it raise the yellow card, if you don’t get it yet raise the red card.”  Another version of this is just to have a traffic light on the board and to point to different colors and ask the students to raise their hands depending on how they would describe their level of understanding.

4.  Speedometer – This is where the students use their hands to indicate their level of understanding.  The students lay one arm on top of another with the elbow of one arm on the hand of the other.  The raising and lowering of the top arm represents going from 0 (not getting it) to 100 (super getting it).  The students then raise their arms to indicate their level of understanding.

5.  Four Corners – The teacher designates each part of the room as an area that represents levels of understanding.  (You can already have scaffolded activities prepared for each area).  Have the students go to the area that best describes their current level.

Resources with More Ideas:

Resource 1

Resource 2

Resource 3

Try them out and let me know how it goes!

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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More Math Powerpoint Resources: Use as whole group and guided math group lesson launches

Here are some more math powerpoints!  You can use them in a variety of ways.  One way to use them is to launch lessons.  Another way to use them is for interactive whole class games.  Some are great to put in math centers, especially the ones that have interactive elements.

Resource 1

Resource 2  (I like the set up of the symmetry one but I found it misleading).  Instead of saying the particular shape doesn’t have a line of symmetry, I would change it to say that the picture doesn’t show a line of symmetry.

Resource 3 (Powerpoint Templates to Customize for you Class, including Games like Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire)

Resource 4 (A variety of math power points.)

Resource 5 (Some good powerpoints…check out the one about zero)

Resource 6 (I like the money prompt power points)

Resource 7 (Fact practice)

Be sure to see part 1 of this series of posts.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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Great Math Common Core Tool: Use to Plan Small Guided Math Lessons

While looking for Math Common Core materials, I discovered this cool tool that helps you to search the new Math Common Core standards by topic.  You select the concept or the grade and then all the standards related to that topic pop up.  It shows how the topics are developed over time across the grade levels.  It also helps you to differentiate instruction for small guided math groups by being able to see what came before and what comes next.

Happy Mathing,

Dr. Nicki

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