Are you looking for engaging ways to teach math concepts to students with significant needs? Are you in need of some fresh ideas? Keep reading to find out how I incorporate math into my students daily schedules.

This post is going to be geared towards students with significant needs. Students who are working on very basic math concepts and/or need a lot of support with communication (non-verbal) and routines.

I started with taking a look at my students IEP goals. I found that a lot of the students have similar goal areas. I decided that these overlapping areas would be our focus of the day. Here is what our schedule looks like:

 
   Monday: Numbers (1-5)
   Tuesday: Shapes
   Wednesday: Colors
   Thursday:  Days of the Week
   Friday: Months of the Year

It would be nice to be able to teach a whole group lesson but even within this group of students there are diverse needs. I find it more beneficial to teach concepts in centers. Centers allow me to teach the concepts individually or in small groups and differentiate to truly meet the needs of all the students. Here are the centers I have:
 
    Technology: A para shows a video that corresponds with our daily focus. They also work on  calendar daily using Star Fall.
    Teacher Time: I run this center and we work on IEP goals and objectives.
    Hands on Learning: A para works on the daily focus by using hands on materials.

Most of my students in this group are working on transitions, mobility and building routines. In order to save time I have the adults bring the centers to each group of students rather than moving the students from center to center. If you teach in a self-contained setting and have the time to move students I would strongly encourage it as it would be a great time to work on the above mentioned areas. Since I don’t work in a self-contained room I simply do not have the time to do this.

Alrighty, so here is how I incorporate basic math skills into my students schedules. I have included the technology video links we use, listed some hands on activities and some sample goals I would be working on that correspond to the daily focus.

Technology: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SV6iC34a46w

Hands on Learning:
   
Grab these Monthly Themed Touch Dot Visuals HERE!
Using our princess manipulatives to count. 

Teacher Time: 
By (date), during math instruction, (student) will repeat numbers (parrot count) up to 20, in 3 out of 5 trials, as measured by teacher observation and anecdotal notes.

By (date), when given manipulatives, (student) will count objects to match a given number up to 5 that is stated orally and a visual cue is presented, 3/4 times in 3 trials, as measured by teacher observation and anecdotal notes.

By (date), during 1:1 math instruction, (student) will count the Touch Dots on 2 numbers (1-5) by pointing to them and identify the sum using their communication device, 3/4 times in 3 trials, as measured by teacher observation and anecdotal notes.

Technology: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTeqUejf3D0
Hands on Learning:

 Monthly Themed Binder Sets from Autism Adventures
 
FREE shapes book here


Teacher Time:
By (date), when presented visuals, (student) will point (receptively answer) to shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle, star, heart) from a field of 3 that are said aloud, 5/6 correct in 3 out of 5 trials, as measured by teacher observation and anecdotal notes.

By (date), given pictures of shapes, (student) will match the corresponding shape words in a field of 6, answering 5/6 correctly in 3 out of 5 trials, as measured by teacher observations and anecdotal notes.

Technology: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQASh8bbkUY
Hands on Learning:

                                      Monthly Themed Binder Sets from Autism Adventures

Teacher Time:
By (date), when presented visuals, (student) will point (receptively answer) to colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, brown, black and white) from a field of 4 that are said aloud, 3/4 correct in 3 out of 5 trials, as measured by teacher observation and anecdotal notes.

By (date), given pictures of colors, (student)with adult support and prompting,  will match corresponding color words in a field of 6, answering 5/6 correctly in 3 out of 5 trials, as measured by teacher observations and anecdotal notes.

Technology: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tx0rvuXIRg

Hands on Learning:

Day & Month File Folders from The Autism Helper


Teacher Time:
By (date), during calendar instruction, (student) will identify the day of the week when visuals are provided, from a field of 2 in 3/5 trials, as measured by teacher observations and anecdotal notes.

By (date), when asked a question about the date, (student), with adult support and prompting, will correctly identify the date (number) when visuals are provided, in 3 out of 5 trials, as measured by teacher observations and anecdotal notes.

Technology: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86kYp9hpab0
Hands on Learning:

Independent Work Binder found here

Teacher Time:
By (date), during calendar instruction, (student) will identify the month when visuals are provided, from a field of 2 in 3/5 trials, as measured by teacher observations and anecdotal notes.

By (date), when asked a question about the date, (student) will correctly identify the month when visuals are provided, in 3 out of 5 trials, as measured by teacher observations and anecdotal notes.

Teaching math to students with significant needs can be tricky. As you can see I do not have a curriculum to follow (I have Unique Learning system but it doesn’t work well with this group) so I base my instruction solely on their IEP goals and objectives. These kids have done an excellent job with this method and best of all, I get it all done in 30 minutes. 10 minute centers are the perfect length for this group. They don’t get bored of the same person or activity and are able to stay engaged during the entire math block.
What math activities do you incorporate for your students with significant needs? 



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