Websites to Support Math Planning


Planing for specific and targeted math instruction is a challenge and some days a pain. I work to make sure my instruction resources are free. I also work with these ideas in mind--even when I think I know which direction I need to go in next.

 Mathematics interventions at the Tier 2 level of a multi-tier prevention system must incorporate six instructional principles:
  • Instructional explicitness
  • Instructional design that eases the learning challenge
  • A strong conceptual basis for procedures that are taught
  • An emphasis on drill and practice
  • Cumulative review as part of drill and practice
  • Motivators to help students regulate their attention and behavior and to work hard

This is a collection of websites I use to plan math instruction to differentiate and help student’s access core instruction.  

Understanding Standard of Mathematics
  • The Illustrative Mathematics Project connects mathematical tasks to each of the standards. Bill McCallum, a lead writer of the Common Core State Standards, helped create the site to show the range and types of mathematical work the standards are designed to foster in students.
  • The Arizona Academic Content Standards contain explanations and examples for each of the standards created by teachers with the help of Bill McCallum a lead writer of the Common Core State Standards.
  • Achieve the Core is the website for the organization Student Achievement Partners (SAP) founded by David Coleman and Jason Zimba, two of the lead writers of the Common Core State Standards. The website shares free, open-source resources to support Common Core implementation at the classroom, district, and state level. The steal these tools link includes information on the key instructional shifts for math and guidance for focusing math instruction.
Curricular Resources for Mathematics
  • The Model Content Frameworks from Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) were developed through a state-led process of content experts in PARCC member states and members of the Common Core State Standards writing team. The Model Content Frameworks are designed help curriculum developers and teachers as they work to implement the standards in their states and districts.
  • The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) has released a new Practice Guide: Teaching Math to Young Children. From naming shapes to counting, many children show an interest in math before they enter a classroom. Teachers can build on this curiosity with five recommendations from the WWC in this practice guide. The guide is geared toward teachers, administrators, and other educators who want to build a strong foundation for later math learning.

Learning Progressions in the Standards for Mathematics
The Common Core State Standards were built on mathematical progressions. This website provides links to narrative documents describing the progression of a mathematical topic across a number of grade levels, informed both by research on children's cognitive development and by the logical structure of mathematics.

Differentiating the Standards for Mathematics

Back-to-School Tips for Special Education Teachers; Giveaway


Today, I'm linking up with Ashley from Ashley's Brainy Centers for a Back to School Giveaway.

My top 10 must dos for each back-to-school tips I do to emphasize communication, organization, and a focus on student success.

1. Organize all that paperwork
Special educators handle lots of paperwork and documentation throughout the year. Try to set up two separate folders or binders for each child on your case load: one for keeping track of student work and assessment data and the other for keeping track of all other special education documentation.

2. Start a communication log
Keeping track of all phone calls, e-mails, notes home, meetings, and conferences is important. Create a "communication log" for yourself in a notebook that is easily accessible. Be sure to note the dates, times, and nature of the communications you have.

3. Review your students' IEPs
The IEP is the cornerstone of every child's educational program, so it's important that you have a clear understanding of each IEP you're responsible for. Make sure all IEPs are in compliance (e.g., all signatures are there and dates are aligned). Note any upcoming IEP meetings, reevaluations, or other key dates, and mark your calendar now. Most importantly, get a feel for where your students are and what they need by carefully reviewing the present levels of performance, services, and modifications in the IEP.

4. Establish a daily schedule for you and your students
Whether you're a resource teacher or self-contained teacher, it's important to establish your daily schedule. Be sure to consider the service hours required for each of your students, any related services, and co-teaching. Check your schedule against the IEPs to make sure that all services are met. And keep in mind that this schedule will most likely change during the year!

5. Call your students' families
Take the time to introduce yourself with a brief phone call before school starts. You'll be working with these students and their families for at least the next school year, and a simple "hello" from their future teacher can ease some of the back-to-school jitters!

6. Touch base with related service providers
It's important to contact the related service providers — occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech/language therapists, or counselors — in your school as soon as possible to establish a schedule of times for your students who need these services. The earlier you touch base, the more likely you'll be able to find times that work for everyone.

7. Meet with your general education co-teachers
Communicating with your general education co-teachers will be important throughout the year, so get a head start on establishing this important relationship now! Share all of the information you can about schedules, students, and IEP services so that you're ready to start the year.

8. Keep everyone informed
All additional school staff such as assistants and specialists who will be working with your students need to be aware of their needs and their IEPs before school starts. Organize a way to keep track of who has read through the IEPs, and be sure to update your colleagues if the IEPs change during the school year.

9. Plan your B.O.Y. assessments
As soon as school starts, teachers start conducting their beginning of the year (B.O.Y.) assessments. Assessment data is used to update IEPs — and to shape your instruction — so it's important to keep track of which students need which assessments. Get started by making a checklist of student names, required assessments, and a space for scores. This will help you stay organized and keep track of data once testing begins.

10. Start and stay positive
As a special educator, you'll have lots of responsibilities this year, and it may seem overwhelming at times. If your focus is on the needs of your students and their success, you'll stay motivated and find ways to make everything happen. Being positive, flexible, and organized from the start will help you and your students have a successful year.

Ashley from Ashley's Brainy Centers  Back to School Giveaway is live for 24 hours--be sure to get in on the fun and get a $5.00 Teacher pay Teacher Store credit from me and others.

Until next time--


Show and Tell-July Linkly

Good Morning, today I'm linking up with Stephanie at "Forever in 5th Grade," to bring you a glimpse into my end of summer planning for my Special Education Resource Room. This year I'll be working with 2nd and 3rd grades. Many of these guys were with me last year. Most of my thinking has been around how I want to strength or change systems I had in place last year like communicating with parents and making it authentic for students.
I have an crazy teacher rubric, this year I'm going to swing to the fences. I have in the past talked about Personalized Learning and how I'm working to use the thinking in s Resource Special Education room. I'm adding a Data Binder this year. 


Each student will have a binder where they will keep their data, Personalized Learning Plan, rubrics, and week reflection plans. This information will be used to info IEP meetings and make it easier for students to crate a video of presentation for their IEP meetings. I also hope I can give students more responsibly like their books, progress monitoring materials, attendance, behavior, and what ever else I want them to hold on to. I chose to make the paper pieces match the divider tabs in the hopes it would help with organization and I could spend less time with missing pieces. 


This summer I had the privilege to be my nephew's nanny. We have spent the summer between the library and playing with water in the backyard. The animals are from the Vancouver aquarium. (I visited Vancouver in early June.)

I miss not sending home monthly newsletters to parents.  The twist I want to add is the students writing something each month that I can add to it as well. This idea will help with two things--increase parent communication and two help students to write to an authentic audience.  I'm looking forward to see what they do. They will also be contributing authors on the classroom website. I'm hoping since we use Google Sites this idea will not be all drama and something everyone will see of high value.





One thing that I added to my Data binders was a way for my students' for reflect on and take control of their learning and a perfect way to use it as a Formative Assessment. Last year to used Robert Marzano's Checking for Understanding. This is one of three versions I have in my Teachers pay Teacher store. Even though I'm keeping the same students just a grade older than last year--this version was perfect for them as first and second graders. This is perfect for students to self assess and reflect on their learning, you can target specific skills they say they are missing or confused or speed up you instruction because they've got it. You can buy it from my store-click on the picture.






Preschool Math Summer Ideas

Preschooler, experiencing the world through play as they explore and learn with great enthusiasm. Giving preschoolers a solid foundation in early math literacy is critical to their future academic success, not to mention how important it is to their day-to-day functioning.


How preschoolers learn the many aspects of math

Most preschoolers, even without guidance from adults, are naturally interested in math as it exists in the world around them. They learn math best by engaging in dynamic, hands-on games and projects. Preschoolers love to ask questions and play games that involve the many aspects of math. The table below lists the key aspects of preschool math, along with simple games and activities you can use to help your child learn them.

Math Games and Activities

  • Count food items at snack time (e.g., 5 crackers, 20 raisins, 10 baby carrots)
  • Use a calendar to count down the days to a birthday or special holiday. Help your child see the connection between a numeral like "5," the word "five," and five days on the calendar.
  • Practice simple addition and subtraction using small toys and blocks.
  • Play simple board games where your child moves a game piece from one position to the next.
  • Have your child name the shapes of cookie cutters or blocks.
  • Arrange cookie cutters in patterns on a cookie sheet or placemat. A simple pattern might be: star-circle-star-circle.
  • Let your child help you measure ingredients for a simple recipe - preferably a favorite!
  • Measure your child's height every month or so, showing how you use a yardstick or tape measure. Mark his or her height on a "growth chart" or a mark on a door frame. Do the same with any siblings. Help your child compare his or her own height to previous months and also to their siblings' heights.
  • Talk through games and daily activities that involve math concepts.
  • Have your child name numbers and shapes.
  • Help them understand and express comparisons like more than/less than, bigger/smaller, and near/far.
  • Play games where you direct your child to jump forward and back, to run far from you or stay nearby.
  • Use songs with corresponding movements to teach concepts like in and out, up and down, and round and round.


Website Ideas


The Early Math Learning website (www. earlymathlearning.com) includes free downloads of PDF files of this Early Learning Math at Home booklet as well as individual chapters. Additonal articles and resources for families will be added regularly.

The California Mathematics Council maintains a For Families section at its website (www.cmc-math.org/family/main.html). Here you will find articles on mathematics education issues of interest to parents, hands-on activities to do at home, and information on how to host your own Family Math event at your preschool or education center.

The Math Forum (www.mathforum.org) is a web portal to everything “mathematics.” Here you can ask Dr. Math questions and get answers! You will also find weekly and monthly math challenges, Internet math hunts, and math resources organized by grade level.

Head Start–Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (www.eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc) is linked to the federal Head Start Program. Here you will find information about government programs for early learning, including resources that are available to families.

Thinkfinity (www.thinkfinity.org) is a project of the Verizon Foundation. This website has more than 55,000 resources—including many that focus on math—that have been screened by educators to ensure that content is accurate, up-to-date, unbiased, and appropriate for students. The resources on this website are grouped by grade level and subject area.

PBS Parents, the early education website of the Public Broadcasting Service (www.pbs.org/parents/education/math/activities), offers numerous resources, including the stages of mathematics learning listed for babies through second grade children. It is also a rich source of math activities to do at home

Math at Play (www.mathatplay.org) offers multimedia resources for anyone who works with children from birth to age five. Here you can explore early mathematical development and the important ways that caregivers nurture children’s understanding of math concepts through social-emotional relationships, language, everyday play experiences, materials, and teaching.

Let’s Read Math (www.letsreadmath.com/math-and-childrens-literature/ preschool/) wants to make parents and families aware of the growing body of children’s literature with themes related to mathematics. Here you will find a long annotated list of live links to preschool children’s books with math themes, listed by title, author, and mathematics topic.

Phonics--Are They Important?

Anyone who has been to school has learned phonics. Phonics is the basic reading instruction that teaches children the relationships between letters and sounds. Phonics teaches children to use these relationships to speak and write words. According to a study by the Partnership for Reading, the objective of phonics instruction is to help children learn and use the "alphabetic principle"-the systematic and predictable relationships between written letters and spoken sounds. Knowing these relationships through phonics helps young readers to recognize familiar words accurately and easily "decode" new words.

The Progressing Stages of Phonics
  • Realize that sentences are made up of words.
  • Realize that words can rhyme. Make your own rhymes.
  • Realize that words can be broken down into syllables. Start breaking down words into syllables.
  • Realize that words can begin with the same sound. Practice these first sounds.
  • Realize that words can end with the same sound. Practice these ending sounds.
  • Realize that words can have the same medial sounds. Practice these medial sounds.
  • Realize that words can be broken down into individual sounds. Practice these sounds.
  • Realize that sounds can be deleted from words to make new words. Practice these.
  • Start blending sounds to make words.
  • Start segmenting words into component sounds.


What To Look For
  • They list the following behaviors that indicate children's growing mastery of phonics.
  • Know consonant sounds
  • Know that a, e, i, o, and u are vowels.
  • Know sounds of digraphs. Example: /sh/ in shell.
  • Know sounds of consonant blends. Example: /bl/ in block and /str/ in string.
  • Know short vowel word families. Example: at, an, op, on, it, in.
  • Break words into syllables.
  • Find familiar words within unknown words. Example: mat in matter.
  • Substitute or add letters to make new words. Example: When asked to take away the letter t in the word tan, can the child say the word is an? Can the child put the letter t on an to make the word ant?

Things to do at Home


Learn Phonics with-Letter-Sound Cards

Make personal letter cards with each child. Write the upper- and lowercase form of a letter on one side of an index card. On the other side, help children draw, paste pictures, or write words that begin with the sound. For example, on one side write Bb. On the other side children can write, draw, or paste a bat, bee, or boat.

I Spy-A Fun Phonics Game

Invite children to play a guessing game. Without revealing it to the child, select an object in the room and provide phonics clues to help the child guess what it is. For example, "I spy something that begins with the sound /t/." Keep offering clues until the child guesses that the object is a table.
Learn About Phonics by "Sorting"

Create a stack of cards with pictures that represent words beginning with two initial consonants that you would like the child to work on, for example l and t. Have children say the word and match the picture with the correct initial sound. Invite them to think of other words that might be included in each stack.

Hunt for Letters

Who knew learning phonics could be so much fun? Turn old magazines and catalogs into phonics activities that develop your child's comprehension even further. Pick a letter and spot everything in the catalog that has the same phonetic sound.

Grab the scissors and cut those items out of the pages. Together you'll make a customized flash card as you learn the letter and its sound. Kids will have the visual of the word, such as alligator, along with the letter you're studying. You only need a few household items to get started.

Teach Phonics Through Picture-Taking

Tap into his creative mind when you hand him a camera and send him on a phonics adventure. Help him spot objects that navigate him from A to Z through photos. He can snap pictures of everything from an anthill to a Zamboni. Continues with your child makes his own alphabet book with his pictures. The activity never gets old and can be used to capture a field trip, vacation or regular day with mom or dad through his eyes.

Spell Phonetically as He Writes

Help him practice writing skills as you spell words for him phonetically. Once he knows the phonetic sounds of the alphabet (aah, buh, cuh, etc.), he'll be able to spell and comprehend all of those words he sees in his storybooks.

Get him a notebook and help him create lists that cover everything from his favorite toys to games he likes to play. Sound out every letter so he can write the word himself. For example, if he likes cars, sound out cuh so he'll write the letter C, then aah for the letter A and so on.

Play Alphabet Ball
Burn some of your child's endless supply of energy. Play phonics activities that teach him letters, letter sounds and words. Alphabet ball is a multifaceted game that grows with him and can be adapted to fit a variety of school subjects. There are three levels of play -- one for toddlers, one for preschoolers and one for school-age children. To get started all you need are a ball, marker and a child who loves to play.

Happy play!!


Building Vocabulary and Oral Language Skills

The good news about building vocabulary and oral language skills in for young children over the summer is it's really fun and easy! Two of the best things you can do are to allow time for free play and to spend time talking and reading with your child.

Play-based Learning

Children build vocabulary and oral language skills doing many of the things they love to do: drawing, playing with dolls and stuffed animals, playing with cars, building with blocks, dressing up, and playing pretend in a kitchen or home center. The language and conversation kids use during these play times provide a strong literacy base for a child entering kindergarten. The type of dialog that children use while playing in a home center will be very different from the language they use while building with blocks, so having a variety of activities for your child to choose from will encourage a broad range of vocabulary words incorporated into their daily play. As you are playing with your child, or observing their play, use language and vocabulary that will help them grow. Identify and explain the uses for different objects in the kitchen and use interesting language when playing with stuffed animals and dolls. Young children are like sponges, ready to soak up the language around them!

Conversations Count

Spending time engaged in conversation during your shared experiences will also help build vocabulary and oral language. Taking walks, going for bike rides, heading to the park, flying a kite, cooking together, visiting a farm or petting zoo, and even raising pets at home can all be terrific experiences for kids and give you lots to talk about. Be sure to talk to your child throughout these day-to-day experiences, using language that helps them grow in their vocabulary development. Too often parents, teachers, and caregivers will use simple words with kids. While it’s important to explain things to your child, using words within their developmental level, it’s also important to remember that kids can handle a lot more than we give them credit for. When you’re cooking with your child, ask them to get the measuring cup instead of calling it a scooper. They may have never heard that term before, but suddenly it becomes part of their vocabulary.

Thematic Explorations

Exploring passion topics such as gardening, studying rocks, planets, trees or animals can be incredibly engaging for young children. By simply finding something they are interested in, and setting up some learning experiences, children may be naturally drawn to explore and learn more. Do the birds come back to your yard when the weather warms up? Set up a basket with binoculars, books about birds, and pictures of birds that live in your area. If your child is truly interested in this topic, the questions will start flowing and it becomes another great opportunity for vocabulary development.

Poetry & Rhyme

Poetry, nursery rhymes and songs are fun and engaging for young children, but they also contribute to the foundational skills young children need in their oral language development. They will begin to hear rhyming words and be able to predict the words that are coming next in a song. When singing songs, children will learn how to articulate words and will practice pronouncing words over and over while having fun. Nursery Rhymes also provide a great opportunity for conversation with your child. Talk about how Jack and Jill might have been feeling and ask what they think happened after Jack and Jill tumbled down the hill. Spending time acting out different songs and rhymes will also help children internalize the meanings of different words they are hearing. While a child may be new to the word tumbled, they will certainly remember the meaning after playing around and tumbling across some pillows (an imaginary hill) in their living room.

Have a great 4th of July weekend!


About Me

Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I'm Ms. Whiteley. I teach in the beautiful Mile High state--Colorado. This is my 13th year teaching in an rural K-6 Elementary school as a Exceptional Needs Teachers. As Exceptional Needs National Board Certified Teacher, I believe that ALL students can learn and be successful. When I'm not in school, I love to take my two Italian Greyhounds hiking 14ers and reaching for the stars. Thanks for Hopping By.
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