7 Special Education Math Routines You Should Be Doing Every Day

Routines are key. We need to have simple things that we do without even thinking about them to help our students grow. Each of these math routines can be integrated into things that you are already doing each day.

1. Number Sense

Number sense is a complicated skill for some students to master. Consider intregrating the following questions into some of your math discussions or problems:

  • Would you rather have 25 dollars or 50 dollars?
  • Which is bigger?
  • Which is smaller?
  • Which is closer to 10?
  • Is this number MORE than 10?
  • Is this number LESS than 10?
  • What number is in the ones place?
  • What is the value of the number in the tens place?
  • Can you read this number in standard form?

Adapt these questions based on the needs, age, and abilities of your students.

2. Counting On

Counting on can be hard for your students and it takes a lot of practice. The good news–They can get better!

You could easily practice counting on by using a deck of number flash cards. Whichever number you pull out becomes your starting number.

If you pull the number 5 from the deck, they have to count on. 5, 6, 7, 8…

When working on addition facts, you can easily integrate this practice right into what you’re doing every day.

3. Writing Numbers

Writing numbers can be especially difficult for some of our students. They need many opportunities to practice writing them in a safe place with someone who understands and can support this area of difficulty.

As you write answers to their daily problems, teach them to use visual aids, such as a hundreds chart or a number line in the classroom, to check their work. I also like to have my students use the chalkboard and write BIG numbers to use their gross motor skills instead of their fine motor skills.

4. Math Facts

How are you going to practice those darn math facts on a regular basis? Let’s think of some students who are working on some 2 or 3 digit addition and subtraction, they need help with math facts even though they are working on more complex skills. Spend time working on math facts, whether it be addition or multiplication.

Then, talk about how if knowing our addition facts can also help with subtraction problems. The same idea can be used with multiplication and division.

5. Part-Part-Whole

If a student can understand that part-part-whole could represent addition or subtraction, we can use it in a variety of ways. It becomes a very powerful tool when doing word problems. It gives students a way to visualize what is happening and can work to using it independently later.

6. Word Problems

I love to have my students stand up and act out a word problem. If you don’t want them up and moving, use something that they can physically touch, such as erasers, stickers, balls, cereal, or candy to make it more visually interesting for them. 

7. Check the Sign

This is something for the older students who have had experience with several operations. We know that all of those signs and symbols can get very overwhelming for them.

So a good rule to have in place is to CHECK THE SIGN! Are we adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing? Always check the sign. Make it a habit!

I found this idea in Teaching Math to Students with Learning Disabilities. I love it as a way to help students check the sign.

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