My students live in a very rural area in the heart of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. They come from a community where support is high, but resources are limited. They are hard-working kids, but they struggle academically. Every student who comes to my classroom has been diagnosed with a disability of some sort, but this does not hold these children back.
Their perseverance more than makes up for their short-comings.
They learn best when they are challenged and excited about learning and they are very enthusiastic about technology.
Research shows that for special education students like mine, the best educational outcomes occur when they are taught in the general education classroom as much as possible. Despite their deficits in math, which vary from very slight to quite extreme, all of my special education students receive their daily math instruction with their non-disabled peers. Through the use of calculators, personal support and a lot of hard work, my students are usually able to complete grade level math assignments. However, there are still many areas in which their fundamental math skills (arithmetic, decimals, fractions, etc.) are lacking.
Working on their personal deficit areas through an individualized computer based curriculum is vital to my students' continued success in math.
Currently we have enough computers so that twice a week students can access Khan Academy, which offers online tutorials and assessments geared to help them improve in their areas of weakness. With additional Chromebooks we can increase the students' access to this important learning tool.
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