I’m a middle school math teacher in an inclusion classroom with several students with learning disabilities. My school uses a team teaching/co-teaching model, so I usually have a special education teacher in my room and we try to teach together as much as possible. She’s been great at helping me change lesson plans and come up with ideas for differentiating instruction.
We just got interactive whiteboards this year, and we’ve both been trying to come up with different ways to use them with the kids. So far, we’ve used them more like an overhead projector to show problems on the board and things like that. How can we use the boards more interactively for all kids, especially our students with LD?
One of the great features of interactive whiteboards (such as the SMART Board) is that you can use them to allow students to manipulate objects on screen, add text and diagrams to math problems, and save work. These features can have several benefits for your students, particularly those who are struggling. Because you can save the lessons and activities you present on the interactive whiteboard, you can upload your lessons to a classroom website for student review at a later date. This can be helpful for students with disabilities who may benefit from repetition. It also allows any student to revisit the lesson from home to refresh their memory about how to solve a problem.
The interactivity of the whiteboard is also a benefit for kids with LD, as well as students with a variety of learning styles. Because students can come up to the board to add diagrams, highlighting, arrows, text and move objects on screen, it addresses the needs of students who are more tactile and kinesthetic learners. Providing a colorful visual representation of math problems can also be helpful for visual learners.
You might consider using interactive applications for math that will enable students to participate more during lessons. Virtual manipulatives and applets are a good choice. Check out some of these resources for ideas:
- Interactive Mathematics Projects using Macromedia Flash
- National Library of Virtual Manipulatives
- Learning Mathematics with Virtual Manipulatives
You might also check out some teacher-created websites on the use of interactive whiteboards, they can be a great way to share lesson plans and ideas.