Use these helpful and effective math strategies for struggling students as you teach to engage and instruct. Try the hands-on math activities and supportive strategies today!
Support Struggling Students with Math Strategies
Do you have students in your classroom that struggle with math concepts? These beginning years of school are laying a foundation for more complex academic concepts to come. This is especially true with math.
You know that instruction in Kindergarten, first, and second grade build the blocks needed for higher levels of thinking that comes later. Knowing this, it may be a worry when you see students struggling with understanding and participating in math.
As a teacher, what can you do to help struggling learners? It is often easy to identify a problem, but not as easy to know how to help and remedy the problem. Today I want to help YOU, help your students.
Many best practices support a students’ need to increase their math understanding. For each strategy, I have tried to provide fun, easy math strategies, activities, and resources to make your planning easier.
Although it can be disheartening when our students are not reaching their full potential, we don’t have to accept defeat! There are many exceptional resources and effective strategies out there to help us if we get creative and are willing to make them a part of our daily routine.
Effective Math Concept Strategies
When it’s time to teach new math concepts, we should teach them slowly, review frequently, and provide different strategies of “solving” or completing a task or getting to an answer.
Students learn differently.
They need us to get creative and explain things clearly, in a variety of ways. They also need opportunities to explore in hands-on ways and use math tools to show their thinking. It’s important for us to recognize this, differentiate our instruction, and change our thinking to meet our students’ needs.
Here are some concept strategies to help!
- Build number sense– A good knowledge of numbers is the first step to understanding more complex concepts. Try fun activities that help students learn and get comfortable with Numbers to 100!
- Word problems– Teach solving word problems by solving them together as a class. Read the problem slowly together and determine the question. Have kids draw simple pictures to represent the numbers. Count along to find the answer and record the equation to show.
- Math journals– Math journals are a fun way to work through a math problem! Review student’s answers one-on-one to assess whether they have grasped the concept or need additional support.
- Read books– Children’s books help us teachmath concepts in new ways. Find out how to use them, plus get a list of great titles!
- Math Review Mats– Spiral review and practice math daily by using engaging activities.
Hands-On Math Activities for Struggling Students
The more students are touching, interacting, and exploring math tools, the deeper their understanding of math concepts will be. All students can benefit from hands-on activities, whether they are kinesthetic learners or not.
If you have some struggling students, how can you get them more involved in their learning?
Try these topic-based hands-on activities!
- Patterns– Make patterns with BINGO markers, use blocks, cubes, playdough, or stickers to form patterns. Check out this list of ideas!
- Addition and Subtraction– Have students draw pictures to illustrate word problems, play subtraction bowling or the Human Number Line Game. Use bear counters, beads, legos, or beans to build math problems. Try these hands-on activities for addition and subtraction!
- Telling Time– Play telling time BINGO and use a large manipulative clock to practice on. Draw a clock on a sidewalk and have 2 students stand in for the minute and hour hands. Have students put together clock puzzles and make timelines of their day. Try these activities for telling time!
- Measurement– Use cubes to measure a friend or have students see how far they can jump by measuring the distance on the floor. Make recipes together and talk about the different measurements needed. Try ideas from this list measurement activities!
- Geometry– There are lots of products that can be used to build shapes, including tangrams. Kids will love exploring shapes with geoboards that are used with rubber bands to create shapes. Try these hands-on geometry activities!
- Graphing and Probability– Have fun by sorting and graphing with candy, fruit loops, and Legos. Get inspired with these activities on graphing!
- Online Games– FunBrain is a great collection of games for kids to work on their math skills.
Provide Explicit Math Instruction
While providing opportunities for students to explore and interact with math is vital, we still need creative ways to teach that reach all learners. Some students do best with direct teaching. We should monitor our students and step in when we see that we need to teach or re-teach a certain math concept.
Here are some ways to provide that instruction!
- Khan Academy – Use this site with excellent videos to teach math concepts.
- NumberRock – These fun songs provide direct instruction when teaching some math topics.
- Math Curriculum – Find a comprehensive math curriculum that covers important stardards, is teacher-reviewed, and effective at teaching important concepts. The Mindful Math Curriculum for K-2 provides you with everything you need to teach a well-rounded math program, while supporting your students developing needs.
- Math Visuals – Math posters are important to have so students can refer to them and use them when they are working on math. Use them as teaching tools and also as prompts if a student gets stuck.
Math Resources for K-2
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Mindful Math Curriculum for K-2
Although you may have students who struggle and need extra support with math, there are many resources out there to help them succeed. Get started today: Provide rich lessons that provide the support these students need!
Learn more about our math curriculum: Mindful Math. It is comprehensive, effective, and will help you to support your students where they are.
Mindful Math is a comprehensive math curriculum for kindergarten that was designed to be teacher and student-friendly. It was created to give teachers a ready-to-teach math curriculum that is fun, engages minds, and leaves students knowledgeable and fluent in math concepts.
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FREE Number Sense Email Series
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