When preparing to be a special education teacher, I collected anything and everything that I thought my future students could benefit from. During that treasure hunt I collected many books, toys, and learning materials. Many of my items are currently stored in boxes and unusable for my current setting. Just because a student is performing on a lower elementary level academically, does not mean that they want to be treated as if they were half their age. Sometimes students do indeed act younger than their actual age, but that has not been the case for the majority of the students in my classroom so far.
It may shock the public to know that the majority of the students in the self-contained classroom are aware that they are in a different class than their peers. They are aware that they are not doing the same work as their grade level peers. I have had to have some difficult conversations with students to explain why we are working on academic success in my small numbered class of multi-grade levels instead of in the classroom with the rest of the students their age. The students they eat lunch with, the students they sit with at pep rallies, the students they run laps with during PE…I crave for my students to be included as much as they possibly can, but I am also intune with their academic needs and what it takes for each of them to be as independent as possible as an adult.
I have scoward for activities that look age appropriate, but still on their academic level. Unfortunately there just isn’t a plethora of those materials available. Many of the materials are very complex and confusing. Recently I been creating my own simple activities and tasks. I have enjoyed having my students give input into what they want their center activities to look like. They love the independence that the materials provide them. There is no cute little characters, no “baby” things… just clean, simple, math activities that address their math standards and meet their academic level needs.
One of the activities that all (Yes, ALL) my students have used to learn measurements are the velcro booklets. They include seven different problems dealing with a specific area of measurement. All the answer choices are provided in the booklet as moveable velcro pieces–like an answer bank.
My students have confidence knowing that the correct answer is there and available for them. They are still being challenged by calculating each measurement.
Links to Measurement Booklets and Task Cards.:
Another activity that my students loved is the Finding Area and Perimeter Mats. This product comes with four different mats labeled A-D and an answer sheet for each station. I laminated my copies and used them as station rotations.
An easy to use format and color coded answer sheet makes for an I-Can-Do-It-Myself feel.
I made this product color coded due to the processing challenges of some students in classes like mine. My students are able to follow along with the task easily. I also use simple tables in my class activities often. The students know they have to fill in each empty box. This serves like a checkbox for them.
At the bottom of the answer sheet, I ask three simple questions about the data collected. Being able to read a collection of data is also a skill that middle school students should develop. I love to use lamination to make my activities reusable and these dry-erase mats are simply perfect for station rotations or math centers. I use a simple Scotch laminator.
I have liked creating these products, but I have loved seeing my students work towards mastery of these activities because of these products! They are simple, easy to manipulate, minimum prep, and they are age appropriate! Plus, you can download them right here!
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