By Kathy Kuhl
In today’s post, I share math resources from experts in teaching math to kids with challenges. Most of these resources are free.
Writing numbers is tough for some kids
Does your child write numbers backwards? Or does his or her hand move the wrong direction, pushing the pencil up to draw a one, for instance, instead of pulling down? Fortunately, there is good, free help available to aid your child in developing better habits.
Why does this matter? A pediatric occupational therapist will tell you that pulling down is easier than pushing up, giving better control and taking less effort. So children who write numbers bottom to top are more likely to tire their hands. (By the way, a pediatric occupational therapist is a great help for children and teens who struggle with handwriting.)
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) had an easy lesson to help your child remember how to form each digit from zero to nine. Strangely, everyone seems to call this a lesson writing the numbers up to five. The Austin Texas Independent School District now provides it.
NCTM provides many other teacher resources. Also they give tips based on what works best pedagogically. For instance:
- This page on teaching high school mathematics includes a free PowerPoint. It discusses how to emphasize thinking and problem-solving rather than using formulas by rote.
- Illuminations offers free interactive online games, as well as lessons, though those seem only accessible to members.
These and their monthly Featured Resources are available free, without joining NCTM. Look under the “Classroom Resources” tab.
Ronnit Bird is a math specialist. She creates excellent materials for “children who have dyscalculia, dyslexia and other specific difficulties.” Her site includes free games and resources. Practical and helpful!
Though not a math specialist, Donna Young’s website has some excellent math handouts, including the triangle cards I prefer to flash cards for teaching math facts. Triangle cards allow you to each 4 math facts at once. Check them out, and her other resources here.
Mr. Woodin is the chairman of the mathematics department at the Landmark School in Massachusetts. He teaches children with severe learning disabilities, using remarkable practical techniques. He generously shares many of these on YouTube. I highly recommend his book Multiplication and Division Facts for the Whole-to-Part Visual Learner.
He also shares free graphic organizers, sample problems, and a curriculum bank. Mr. Woodin’s teaching methods are brilliant. His work has inspired me as I taught math to high schoolers in our local group. If you ever go to a national conference of the Learning Disabilities Association, you’ll see his workshops are always packed.
In addition, Mr. Woodin was interviewed here by the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity. (Love the name of that organization!)
He provides wonderful lessons in dozens of videos on Youtube here. Here’s a sample, though he covers everything from basic addition through algebra.
More than anything else, the sixty hours of instruction I had from Marilyn Zecher changed and inspired me to improve the ways I teach math. (When I took her course, I was teaching Algebra and Geometry at our homeschool group. I also taught junior high math in the 1970s and 80s.)
A supporter of homeschooling, Marilyn is a gifted teacher who helps parents and teachers teach math in effective ways that help students with language-based learning disabilities.
I’ll write more about her Multisensory Math approach another day, but I’ll let her introduce her approach here:
And in this video about fractions:
Finally, you can find other posts I’ve written about math for kids with learning challenges by browsing the math tag on this blog.
What are your favorite resources to help a child with learning challenges learn math? Please post your ideas in the comments section below.