**Teaching Strategies: Teaching STEM to Students with Learning Disabilities**

Shawn Schuman

Kim Hairfield

SED 572 – Fall 2012

October 14, 2012

Shawn Schuman

Kim Hairfield

SED 572 – Fall 2012

October 14, 2012

This presentation will discuss teaching

strategies that are helpful when teaching STEM

curriculum in the areas of mathematics and science

to students with learning disabilities.

What is STEM?

•Science

•Technology

•Engineering

•Mathematics

A student may have a learning disability when he/she has the ability to learn some skills and strategies easily, while having difficulties learning others.

What is a learning disability?

ESL – English as a Second Language Students

•ESL students may be competent with English as their social language

•ESL students may need assistance using English as their academic language, as higher thinking and language skills are required

Learning disabilities that require teaching strategies…

Learning disabilities that require teaching strategies…

ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

• Students demonstrate attention problems and are easily distracted

• Teachers need to have knowledge of appropriate behavior management methods

• Teachers need to plan educational interventions

**Learning disabilities that require teaching strategies…**

Visual impairment

• Students with low vision or total blindness need varying accommodations

• Students with visual impairments may need help with concept development, communication, mobility, social skills, and basic human needs

• Teachers can modify classroom environment

Learning disabilities that require teaching strategies…

Hearing impairment

• Accommodations needed depend on the degree of hearing loss

(minimal, mild, moderate, severe or profound)

• Teachers can provide preferential seating and minimize environmental noise

• Teachers can use visual clues and media to demonstrate concepts

• Students may need to use amplification devices and/or assistive technology

**Learning disabilities that require teaching strategies…**

Pervasive Development Disorders (such as Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome)

• Impairments in social and interactive skills

• Teachers can perform an assessment of student likes and dislikes – this will help teacher plan lessons

• Regular classroom routine, as students with autism like predictability

• Create a behavior plan that uses positive behavioral supports

**Learning disabilities that require teaching strategies…**

Specific Learning Disabilities (such as Dyslexia and brain injuries)

• Students have difficulty with learning tasks

• One or more of the psychological processes involved in language does not function properly

• Teachers can use certain instructional strategies based on the student’s weaknesses (for example, small group discussions, “think alouds”, graphic organizers)

• Remember every student is different!

For this presentation, we will be discussing the STEM components of Mathematics and Science and the teaching strategies that have been effective when working with learning disabled students.

Strategies for Teaching Mathematics Content

Why do some students have difficulty with mathematics?

• Many disabilities can affect a student’s learning and performance.

• A disability may affect a student’s visual processing, visual memory, and visual-spatial relationships. These factors all affect math proficiency.

• Math learning difficulties can also affect a student’s ability to create and solve math problems.

Case Study #1: Collaboration of Special Education and Mathematics Teachers

In Denver, Colorado, the public school system began a program where special education and mathematics teachers would collaborate to improve both of their mathematics instruction.

The hope was that this collaboration would support the wide variety of learners in the classrooms.

Case Study #1: Collaboration of Special Education and Mathematics Teachers

Many of the special education teachers did not have the proper content knowledge in mathematics.

Many of the mathematics teachers did not know how to accommodate students with special needs.

There were 2 goals for the program:

• To improve the use of differentiated mathematics instruction by special education and mathematics teachers

• To provide special education students an appropriate yet challenging mathematics curriculum

Case Study #1: Collaboration of Special Education and Mathematics Teachers

The concept behind the collaboration of teachers was universal design for learning.

The teachers (special education and mathematics) needed to provide multiple methods/means of:

• Representation – various teaching methods

• Expression – assessment alternatives

• Engagement – fun and motivating exercises

As a result of this program, steady improvement on mathematics assessments were shown for students both in and not in special education classes.

Additionally, teachers indicated that they are learning more about

1) mathematics content and

2) improving their teaching strategies as a result of this program.

Case Study #2: Math and Inclusion: A View of Teacher Strategies in a Math Inclusion Class

This case study examines and analyzes teachers’ strategies used when assisting students with learning disabilities.

The participant in the study is a middle school mathematics special education teacher from an urban school district in Texas.

Case Study #2: Math and Inclusion: A View of Teacher Strategies in a Math Inclusion Class

This case states that many regular teachers are having difficulties teaching special education students.

There are several reasons given for the teaching difficulties:

• General teachers do not have enough special education training

• Lack of special education teachers and special education resources

• Difficulties differentiating curriculum for special education students

• General teachers may not understand the best way to explain mathematics to their special education students

• General teachers are not familiar with the responsibilities and procedures that go along with special education programs

• All teachers feel enormous amounts of pressure from state assessments

Case Study #2: Math and Inclusion: A View of Teacher Strategies in a Math Inclusion Class

The purpose of this case is to investigate what strategies are useful when teaching mathematics to special education students.

Also, this study tries to determine if inclusion is the right choice for special education students.

Case Study #2: Math and Inclusion: A View of Teacher Strategies in a Math Inclusion Class

Studies found that students with learning disabilities performed the same in inclusion and non-inclusion settings. However, general teachers felt that they were not properly trained to handle the inclusion of special education students. Teachers felt that pre-service programs did not adequately prepare them for handling the special needs of students.

**Case Study #2: Math and Inclusion: A View of Teacher Strategies in a Math Inclusion Class**

With the establishment of a co-teaching environment, a mathematics teacher and a special education teacher can reinforce required math concepts together. An additional teacher in the classroom can help reinforce math concepts. Also, the special education teacher can work with a student on a one-on-one basis, using manipulatives to explain mathematics concepts that were causing confusion in the regular classroom environment.

Additionally, a support center was created where students could be sent for additional help throughout the day. This provided the general teacher with the support that was greatly needed.

Case Study #2: Math and Inclusion: A View of Teacher Strategies in a Math Inclusion Class

PALS (Peer Assisted Learning Strategies) were implemented, and peers could provide mathematics assistance to those that needed it.

Teachers trained peer mentors how to get students to participate and engage in the topic at hand.

It was determined that students with learning disabilities enjoyed the active participation in their own learning, and it was found that this peer interaction decreased the anxiety of special education students.

Case Study #2: Math and Inclusion: A View of Teacher Strategies in a Math Inclusion Class

In conclusion, it was determined that the inclusion of special education students in the regular classroom does work. However, it is essential for the general education teacher to have a special education teacher, a support center or a specially trained peer at their disposal.

There are many effective strategies that can used when teaching mathematics to students with disabilities…

Strategy #1 – Group Talks/Think Alouds

• Teachers need to have students verbalize their problems and talk about the possible solutions.

Strategy #2 – Visual representation

• Teachers can provide visual representations and/or manipulatives to help students learn the mathematical concepts.

Strategy #3 – Systematic and explicit instruction

• Teachers need to teach concepts in a way that their students can understand. Teachers also need to be able to explain why mathematical rules work the way that they do.

Strategy #4 – Peer tutoring and collaboration

• Pairing students together to learn, practice and reinforce a math topic

• Materials to engage in the topic (flashcards, worksheets, manipulatives, assessment tools, etc.)

Strategy #5 – Self-Instruction

• Using a variety of self-regulation strategies, students can make sure that they are managing their own behavior

• Students set goals, stay on task, check their work as they proceed, use specific strategies as necessary, and check their work to see if it makes sense.

• Post self-instruction rules in the classroom as a reminder

Strategy #6 – Graphic Organizers

• Organizers would be helpful for students when implementing problem solving skills

• Help with organization of information

In my internship, I have used the following strategies when teaching mathematics:

• Use of manipulatives to help support mathematical concepts (fractions, geometry, etc.)

o Virtual manipulatives (websites)

o Number lines (fractions)

o Physical representations of concepts

• Use of manipulatives to give students a better number sense

o Base 10 blocks

o Counters

o Number line (whole numbers)

• Allow students to collaborate when solving a word problem

o What is the best way to solve the problem?

o Solve and check work! Do your peers agree?

Why are teaching strategies necessary when teaching students with learning disabilities?

• Every student does not learn the same way.

• A disability can affect a student’s learning process. Teachers need to find ways to address a student’s special learning needs.

•A special education teacher and a mathematics teacher team up together and choose a sample student.

•The teachers will think about the strengths and weaknesses of the student. Then, the teacher what kinds of accommodations should be used and how they should be implemented.

•IMPORTANT ! The teachers do not want to change the mathematics concepts that are being taught. Instead, the teachers just want to support the learning of the students in different ways, ensuring that all students get the main idea of the lesson.

Case Study #1: Collaboration of Special Education and Mathematics Teachers

Case Study #1: Collaboration of Special Education and Mathematics Teachers

Kim - Math Teacher

“As 24-year-old Beth Langly entered classroom #16 at J. F .Kennedy High School, she felt the familiar tightening of her throat that she had begun to associate with teaching in this room. A first-year intern science teacher, Beth was shadowing Mike Brown, a teacher with 20 years experience who was also the head of the science department at Kennedy High School.”

Case Study #3: Collaboration of Special Education and Science Teachers

Her classroom, ideally, included:

•To include topics of different types of learning styles and not let any student to fall through the cracks.

•This included the ideals of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences that enable students to learn through their strongest intelligences.

Case Study #3: Collaboration of Special Education and Science Teachers

•“She had heard that Mike, a veteran chemistry, biology, and physical science teacher, was trained in the old-school paradigm of authoritative, teacher-centered instruction.”

•Mike did not support her new teaching style.

•Beth found that her mentor had the students regurgitate the information and would never be used again, as opposed to her own methods that would teach the lessons on the student’s own terms.

Case Study #3: Collaboration of Special Education and Science Teachers

•Based on the theories of Multiple Intelligences, Beth felt that students could learn more by demonstrations and inquiry-based lessons instead of lectures like her mentor.

•Unfortunately, the students did not like her ‘different’ method of instruction and refused to get involved.

Case Study #3: Collaboration of Special Education and Science Teachers

In conclusion, some of the students who are the targets for sensitive and constructive instruction will not support alternative techniques unless the faculty can support each other in such endeavors.

Case Study #3: Collaboration of Special Education and Science Teachers

Beth may have needed support and more strategies to get the students involved:

Case Study #3: Collaboration of Special Education and Science Teachers

Strategy #1 – Break large chunks of instruction, particularly experimental procedures, into small parts. Have students repeat directions in their own words.

Strategy #2 – Integrate hands-on instruction with traditional methods. Switching to a different instructional modality can re-focus wandering attention.

Strategy #3 – Use laboratory time for one-on-one instruction. Speaking with a student individually is a powerful tool for focusing attention.

Strategy #4 – Communicate information in multiple formats.

Students may process information more effectively in an oral,

visual, or kinesthetic framework.

Strategies in the Science Inclusion Classroom

Strategy #5 – Write lab procedures in large, legible print. The blackboard or other communication medium should not be cluttered with irrelevant information.

Strategy #6 – Coincide verbal directions with demonstration whenever possible. Procedures like lighting a burner and using a balance must be demonstrated and practiced for mastery.

Strategy #7 – Clearly label laboratory equipment. Color coding materials may enhance identification.

Strategy #8 – Develop cue cards which outline, in written or pictorial form, major procedural steps. Prominently display cards in sequential order.

Strategies in the Science Inclusion Classroom

Sample information for Beth’s class that might have worked with a lesson based on multiple engagement ideas instead of the usual lectures by her “mentor”:

Strategies in the Science Inclusion Classroom

•A disabled student who is blind or deaf may rely more on the other types of intelligences than visual or musical, respectively.

•There are many effective strategies that can be used when teaching science to students with disabilities. Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences can be used to make practically the same lessons into different styles to help students of different backgrounds and personalities learn better.

Case Study #4: Science and Inclusion: A View of Teacher Strategies in a Science Inclusion Class

The student will be able to describe the causes of the main types of severe weather and explain how humans can prepare for severe weather.

Sample Lesson #1

“Carlos' and Adán's teacher used a learning preferences inventory to help her better address the needs of her students. She has learned that Adán prefers to learn visually, while Carlos is a kinesthetic learner. She wonders what types of activities she should consider to enhance each child's learning.”

Case Study #4: Science and Inclusion: A View of Teacher Strategies in a Science Inclusion Class

Gardner came up with eight different styles of learning:

•Spatial

•Linguistic

•Logical-mathematical

•Bodily-kinesthetic

•Musical

•Interpersonal

•Intrapersonal

•Naturalistic

Case Study #4: Science and Inclusion: A View of Teacher Strategies in a Science Inclusion Class

She needs to address both types of learning:

•Visual Learners

•Kinesthetic

Learners

Case Study #4: Science and Inclusion: A View of Teacher Strategies in a Science Inclusion Class

Sample Lesson Planning For The Same Week:

Lessons of Energy Based On Different Learning Styles:

•Visual Learners

•Kinesthetic Learners

Case Study #4: Science and Inclusion: A View of Teacher Strategies in a Science Inclusion Class

In my teaching experience, I have used the following strategies when teaching science:

•Use of 5 E Lesson Plans:

oEngagement

oExploration

oExplanation

oExtension

oEvaluation

•Use of Differential Instruction for Inclusion Students

oGraphic Organizers

oSmall Groups

oMany Pictures and Diagrams

oVideos and Computers

•Applications of Multiple Intelligences

oSpatial

oLinguistic

oLogical-mathematical

oBodily-kinesthetic

oMusical

oInterpersonal

oIntrapersonal

oNaturalistic

Shawn - Science Teacher

•Teaching strategies are invaluable when instructing students with learning disabilities.

•Lessons must be universally designed in order to allow for accommodations or modifications.

•There are many tools that can be used to help students with learning disabilities.

•Every student is different!! A strategy may work for one student but not another.

Lessons Learned…

•The STEM Curriculum is challenging. Even students without learning disabilities can have difficulties grasping concepts.

•In order for students with learning disabilities to grasp STEM concepts, teachers need to find effective strategies to explain and describe concepts.

•It is important that modifications to lessons do not change the necessary content – do not set expectations too low. Do not “dumb down” lessons!

•Frequently assess students to find out if modifications and/or accommodations are effective!

Lessons Learned…

References

References

Objective: