When you deal with students with severe challenges, you find that your students struggle with learning the numbers, but more importantly understanding the numbers. We want them to understand one to one correspondence, so they can count out a named number, they can write the number and they can actually create a visual image in their heads of that number. That last one is hard to prove, yet if you use images to add and subtract numbers in your head, you know it is possible.
One of my students arrived with an IEP goal that requires her to be able to count numbers in different formats. I realized this was a powerful way to help students generalize this skill across settings. So, I created a new article with free printable resources you can use to Build One to One Correspondence. Hope these templates provide your struggling students with lots of extra practice.
I've been trying to focus on my math resources, but I also realize that I need to build more Common Core State Standard resources. I decided to double up, and write some IEP goals aligned to the common core state standards. I'm working with my students to build place value comprehension right now, so I decided to create IEP goals for the CCSS place value standards. The ones I wrote use the second grade standards: I will add some for middle school (which will include decimals and rational numbers) but I hope these get you started thinking about how you align the standards with your IEP's.
I first wrote about the Common Core State Standards when I learned about them at the 2010 Council on Exceptional Children Conference in Nashville. At the time I saw the strength of having a set of national standards that helped us accurately compare the success of different states and evaluate the effectiveness of the public policy that lawmakers put in place and either fund, or fail to fund.
Special educators need to know their way around the Common Core State Standards, since we are required to align our iep's to the standards. At the same time, if we have any hope of succeeding at getting our students on the bottom of the curriculum ladder, we need to know the rungs on the ladder. I also discovered that I don't have any general information. I have written an article in my glossary to address that omission.
Sometimes the holidays just seem hackneyed: but then I remember that these cultural events are important for telling our national "meta-narrative," that explains who we are and why we do what we do. Morgan Freeman may wish to end "Black History Month," but until we really do successfully integrate people of African descent into popular culture it's good to mark the month by sharing some of the stories.
So, too, St. Patrick's Day. We forgot how the immigration of the Irish was considered a danger to true Americanism, an invasion of Papists who would challenge the hallowed protestant assumption of the Anglo Saxon majority. Instead the Irish won their way into the heart of popular American Culture, B'gosh and Begorra.
So, I will read leprechaun stories and talks about Ireland. And wear green on March 17th in honor of my Father's Irish mother (Downey.) I will also provide you with resources to spark the interest of your students and keep them engaged.
One of my students is really struggling with counting and cardinality. I spend a lot of time structuring counting activities in order to help her maintain her skills, matching numbers to quantities, and remembering how to form the corresponding numbers.
As promised, I am continuing to build and clean up my math materials. I decided to put my counting resources in one place to make them easier to find: You'll find them here: Counting and Cardinality Resources. Many of the resources include free printable worksheets, including hundred charts with missing numbers and twenty charts with missing numbers. Hopefully you will find resources here to support your students' success.
This last week Friday was a staff training day. Part of our day focused on writing and how to assess the samples that we had generated. Since my first obligation, as a self contained teacher, is to meet IEP goals, I don't collect the same samples from my children. (I do collect some of the same data from standardized and normed measures as my grade equivalent general education teachers.) Still, as I have often said, my job is to help my students put their feet on the bottom rungs of the curricular ladder. It behooves me to know all the rungs on the ladder, so I can get them as high as their ability will permit them.
The piece that we collected was an opinion piece: students were to state and support an argument for a particular thing: whether it was a preferred activity, sport or pet. I worked with the Kindergarten team, since that is still about the appropriate level for my students' abilities. Read More...
As a teacher of children with autism, I struggle with finding means to teach my students how to understand the abstractions that underpin math. Too often we think helping them memorize their facts, or teaching them a method that becomes a crutch, is enough. I believe that we can lay the foundation for future success. Now that Valentine's Day is over I've put up my resources on my "landing page." That includes a lot of free printable resources.
Of course, that includes both counting and one to one correspondence. To cement those skills, it's critical that our students have lots and lots of practice. Some of that practice includes practicing counting to twenty. Watch in the next couple of weeks, as I continue to organize and provide free printable resources to help your students gain those skills they need to move from numeration, to operation to problem solving.
Since I teach in a self contained primary autism program, I use those "cultural hooks" we call holidays to engage my students and to challenge them. I've put up my Valentines Day activities, and have some president Dot to Dots down in the lower left corner.
I also have some "social skills" activities I created especially for Middle School Students. Since many students with developmental disabilities are dealing with the same developmental (okay, puberty) issues as their typical peers, it's a great opportunity to talk about the appropriate ways to engage girls in "non creepy" conversations.
So, roll out your Valentines Activities, and have some fun! They will get cutting, counting and coloring practice.
Being sure that your students have the skills they need is far more important than meeting certain sets of criteria that someone else lays out for you. Those skills your children need are more than multiplying and dividing fluently. They may never develop those skills. They will need to be able to function in the community: and the more they can do it independently and without assistance, the more value their lives will have for them. Those functional math skills include recognizing numbers, understanding one to one correspondence, using money, telling time and understanding prices.
Some parents, you may have find, are terrified for their children with disabilities to go out into the community. We know that they often overfunction for their children, believing they are protecting them. At the same time, these same parents may be terrified of what will happen when they are gone, burdening typical siblings with the responsibility for their disabled brothers and sisters while at the same time developing dependency.
As professionals, one of our shared values is being sure our students enjoy "self determination," the ability to make life choices and decisions for themselves. We deny them that, when we fail to teach them the skills they need to live independently and make choices about how they will spend their money, where they will live, if and where they will work, and who they will love and perhaps even share their life with. If we believe our work has any value, we will want to be sure that we can promise our students just that: that they, too, will have some power over their own lives.
It's toasty warm here in Las Vegas (68 degrees, sorry ) but we're still dealing with flu and colds . . . and we suspect something is in the air. I had an event this Friday that made me think about "Function" -- a reflection of how our educational interventions will impact the adult life of our students. I lost my temper with a child who was told not to bring toys from home and decided, when I took them away from him, it was an opportunity to elope. I yelled. I seldom do. It became a "teachable moment" (those of us who predate "Data, Data, Data!" remember the teachable moment with fondness and longing) to talk about feelings and anger.
The child did not elope, his mother and I will have a discussion of the rule, and my other students learned that when I am upset with one student, I am not yelling at them. I did not call names, I did not use sarcasm, I did not swear, and did not blame. Sometimes a little righteous anger is a good thing.
I realized that underlying my anger was anger at this child's previous teachers. He found that eloping was an effective way to avoid tasks that he didn't like. In this day of texting and distracted driving, the last thing we want is for him to escape the school and hit the street. We are also concerned about whether in the long run he will gain schools that will help him "function" in the community. What kind of behavior and coping skills will he need, as a young adult, to succeed in the community.
Both the terms "function," and "functional skills" have very specific meanings in Special Education. They refer to the trajectory of a child's life to adulthood. For children with disabilities, "function" and "functional skills" will effect how successfully he or she can participate in the world of work, social interaction, even shopping and providing basic needs. So, we teach "functional skills." Just like my little guys behavior would become a serious problem for him at school it will also become a barrier to gaining the kind of functional skills that will promote his success after school, in the community. I address that in a new glossary entry, that lays out how life skills, academic skills and social skills all become functional skills, when they directly affect a child's success integration into his or her community as an adult.