Instrumental and Missional Thinking
Getting students involved in their own learning is a difficult task for a special education teacher. Most of the students have experienced academic failure for years, and they are at the verge of giving up, or they withdraw without hope especially in math. They tend to be passive learners and stay away from participation to avoid embarrassment. I am always looking for new strategies and activities to engage my students, to reinforce their learning, and to replace their so called “failure” with success. Among these strategies are using manipulatives, visual aids, graphic organizers, mnemonic devices, and cooperative groups. It works, however,my students tend to forget easily. They had trouble connecting current ideas to what they had learned before, and this lack of readiness left them very frustrated. Since my students are very visual and kinesthetic learners, they like face-book and video games and they have some basic computer skills, I want to create a series of short fun math videos that include illustrations and also apps that read out aloud to them;this would include math topics with step-by step procedures, word banks, examples and exercises for them to practice. My students will be able to follow the lesson at their own pace and to pause it and repeat it as many times as needed.These videos will be used as a tool both within and outside the classroom to reinforce their learning and skills as well as to review concepts they may have already forgotten.
In the long term, I want to share these math videos with the teachers and create a group to discuss possibilities and suggestions on what students should know in each grade level, how they should demonstrate mastery of goals, and also how to bring to the table math activities that are more engaging and more aligned with student’s experiences.