Academic Skills

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Teaching Multiplication in a Low Incidence Classroom

Multiplication. It is a math skills that allows math life skills to be completed in a faster timeframe. When I first began teaching in a low incidence classroom the idea of teaching multiplication seemed like a mountain I wasn't prepared to climb. How could I make this complex skills accessible for my students? Well the answer was simple (and also the answer to many of the questions about behavior and curriculum in my classroom). VISUALS.


Visual are the key to success in our classrooms. They help students communicate their wants and needs, calm down, follow directions/schedule, and comprehend. Implementing visuals into math was going to give my students the academic rigor they deserved in our small group classroom. 
Before we can have visuals we need to know what to teach. I currently teach in Ohio and I am IN LOVE with the modified standards the state has put together, The Ohio Extended Standards. If your state does not have modified standards for students on a modified curriculum check Ohio's out Here (they are broken down in to ELA, Science, Social Studies, and Math). All the standards in Ohio are based off the Common Core State standards except for Social Studies (which is specific to Ohio history). 



When looking at the image above (taken from education.ohio.gov) the standards are broken down in a, b, and c with A being the most complex and C being the least complex to the original standard. This is the basic frame work that I use to determine how to differentiate grade level standards for my students participating in a modified curriculum. I won't go into too much more detail on the Ohio Extended Standards but I HIGHY suggest that you take the time to look into the extended standards your state has developed OR check out Ohio's. It has been a game changer in my road map to creating a meaningful curriculum for my students. 




So lets get back to math: specifically multiplication.  I realize that some of your students may still be working on basic math skills. However, I am a firm believer in exposing your students to rigor and I am willing to bet that you will be amazed at what your students can accomplish.  I created a leveled Math curriculum for grade bands k-2 and have begun grade bands 3-5 with a multiplication unit. This is how it is broken down: each unit has 5 skills all taken directly from the Ohio Extended Standards. 

Level One Skills: 
  • Represent products of 1's and 2's using arrays
  • Solve multiplication word problems in situations involving equal groups and arrays up to 20 involving multiples of 1's and 2's. 
  • Apply the commutative property using arrays involving multiples of 1's and 2's
  • Solve multiplication number sentences of 1's and 2's 
  • Identify the array that solves for the unknown whole number in a multiplication number sentences of multiples of 1's and 2's 
Level Two Skills: 
  • Represent products of number thru 5x5 using arrays
  • Solve multiplication word problems in situations involving equal groups and arrays up to 20 involving quantities up to 50
  • Apply the commutative and associative properties
  • Solve multiplication number sentences up to 7x7
  • Solves for the unknown whole number in a multiplication number sentences within 50 
Level Three Skills: 
  • Represent products of number up to 10x10 using arrays
  • Solve multiplication word problems in situations involving equal groups and arrays up to 20 involving quantities up to 100 
  • Apply the commutative, associative, and distributive properties
  • Solve multiplication sentences up to 100 
  • Solves for the unknown whole number in a multiplication number sentences within 100
As you can see the skills are very similar and accessible for each level. If your students are in 3rd grade and still working on counting skills they can count using arrays and accomplishing the beginning steps to multiplication! Introduce them to the vocabulary and math symbols that they will see in the real world. Who knows they might just need a new way of counting to master the skill! 




Data collection is an important piece to teaching math because 
so much of math builds on each other. My favorite part of this curriculum is the exposure to the different multiplication properties: commutative, associative, and distributive properties. The units can be mixed and matched based on skill. For example, I have a student who is in level two but has never been exposed to the multiplication properties then I will begin with level one in ONE skill. I keep all of this organized with the data sheet that is included in the curriculum.


























This data sheet has every standard (aligning with Ohio Extended) included in the unit and a simple check list to show their mastery based on the standard as well as a place to record their pre and post test score to show growth. You will simply check a 3 if they are exceeding mastery, 2 have mastery, and 1 not mastered. This will help you develop each child's individualized math curriculum. I also love this method for tracking student progress because it is a clear map to future IEP goals and their present levels. Lastly, this data sheet will WOW your admin and parents. So often people underestimate our students abilities and this is an opportunity to show everyone that your students, even in a low incidence classroom, can accomplish high level math skills and participate in a curriculum that goes beyond basic math skills! Parents will be impressed, admin will be impressed, and you will be creating a culture in your school that your students are learning SO MUCH MORE than they expect! Its a wonderful feeling! 





Lastly there these skills can not just be taught once and never practiced again. In order to make sure your students can continue to get the practice of these skills even when you moved on to another standard centers were created. These will align with the workbook to a T. They are meant to be laminated so that they can be used in a 1:1 center, independent center, or para run center for reinforcement of the skills! 


If you want to check out this curriculum in my TPT store click here

If you are using my math curriculum (Grade bands k-2 or 3-5) share pictures in action (no student faces please) with the HASHTAG #SuperheroMath for a chance to be featured on my social media and win free products in my TPT Store 







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