Tips & Resources for Math Lessons in a Special Ed. Classroom {FREEBIE}

Math is something that is can be tough to teach in self-contained special ed classrooms. I used to really dislike teaching math, but once I started running math groups the way I run my circle time/ morning meeting, I really started to love teaching math! If you teach math as a whole group, check out my tips for running whole group activities effectively.

So, here are the basics of how I run my math groups:
  • I use a Powerpoint document to run the lesson (I project it on my interactive whiteboard).
  • I have a FREE and EDITABLE generic math lesson/ template that you can download from my TpT store here
  • Students do a variety of tasks/ activities about a topic (the tasks last anywhere between 2-5 minutes), then they watch 1-2 educational music videos about the topic. During the videos, students are allowed to dance/sing as they watch, but are expected to stay with the group area.
  • Repeat above a few times, depending on the kiddos' stamina. At the end of last year, our math group was about 25-30 minutes long! When you have video breaks between tasks, you'll be surprised at how long kiddos can last!

Logistics/ Tips:
  • I change the videos about every other week
  • I find all of the videos on Youtube, save them and put them in the PPT. (There are step-by-step directions to this process in the Powerpoint)
  • I found that it works best if I turn the screen/projecter OFF when I'm not playing the videos because then kids are less distracted by the screen. For example, when we are working/ doing the activities, my interactive smartboard is turned OFF. Then when the kiddos are done with the activities, I turn the screen back ON. When the board is OFF it's a cue to my kiddos that it's time to sit/work and when the board is ON it cues them that it's time for videos (kids are allowed to dance/ sing and aren't "working")
  • Organization:
    • I use large tubs to organize math supplies/ activities by the day of the week. I have a large tub for each day. Each tub contains a variety of large Ziplocs and each Ziploc contains materials/ activities for a specific topic (like counting/ numbers, colors, shapes, money, etc). 
    • This makes it super simple and organized! For example, if it's Monday, I grab the Monday tub. I pull out all of the Ziplocs and set them on a little table next to the Smartboard. When it's time to do work around colors, I grab the color Ziploc and students complete the activities inside. Then I put it away and grab the Ziploc that corresponds with the next topic. 
    • I switch the activities in the Ziploc about every 2-3 weeks. Since students are doing different activities each day of the week, I don't think it's important to change the activities in the Ziplocs out weekly.

I hope this helps to explain how I run fun and interactive math lessons in my room. Please ask clarifying questions if any of this doesn't make sense. It makes perfect sense in my brain because I've been doing it this way for over a year, but I'm not sure if I'm putting it into words well. Also share any tips or math resources you have! Enjoy :)