All students should receive the support they need in the math classroom. And with response to intervention (RTI), teachers are able to monitor student progress through a three-tiered system and identify challenges quickly to better help their students.
Although math intervention looks different for each learner, it’s essential to implement the following math strategies in your classroom to reach students at any intervention level.
Math Intervention Strategies
Implement these intervention strategies in your one-on-one, small group, or whole group math instruction.
Incorporate Math Journaling
Diving into new math concepts can be daunting, but math journals provide a safe space to explore and express ideas. Through math journals, students are able to explain and solve math problems using their own words and/or drawings. Journals can even be used to work on metacognitive skills, as students are able to reflect on their mathematical thinking. When using math journals, make sure to provide a variety of prompts to encourage students to think and write about math. For example pose problem solving questions, like how would you solve this problem?, but also reflective questions, like how does this math concept apply to real life? Math journals are an equally useful tool for teachers, providing insight into students’ strengths and challenges and can be used as formative assessments, such as exit tickets.
Introduce Math Vocabulary
Math terms like numerator, denominator, sum, and the difference might be unheard of for some of your students. So before you begin a new math lesson, make sure to introduce math vocabulary. Reviewing math terms allows students to activate prior knowledge and teachers to scaffold instruction. Instead of having students memorize textbook definitions, invite students to define concepts in their own words in their math journals. Make use of graphic organizers, like vocabulary word maps, to help students create definitions and draw diagrams. That way, students will be able to visualize terms and be able to refer back to the concepts throughout the year. Also display vocabulary on an interactive math word wall that students can interact with during small group centers.
Think Aloud About the Problem-Solving Process
A lot of math is mental, so you’re not able to see students’ thought process as they’re working through a problem. Thinking aloud is a useful strategy to better understand students’ problem-solving process. When students verbalize their thinking, you’ll be able to better identify their challenges. Before probing students on their process, model thinking aloud. Stop at each step of the problem and use mathematical language and reasoning along the way. Later, ask students to do the same. You can use this method during whole-group, small group, or one-on-one instruction.
Provide Opportunities for Peer Tutoring
When students teach, they better hone math concepts. And peer tutoring allows for students to teach each other. With peer tutoring, a higher performing student is typically paired with a struggling student. Students are instructed on peer tutoring procedures and provided tutoring tools, like flashcards. Through peer tutoring, students are also able to engage in math discourse and build math confidence.
Use Math Manipulatives
Students exposed to various math models and visual representations will be more likely to comprehend math concepts. And tactile tools, like math manipulatives, help students of all ages and abilities explore math in different ways. For example, to teach foundational math skills like addition and subtraction, use a variety of math manipulatives, like unifix cubes and base-ten blocks, to provide representations of numbers in the equation.
Not all math manipulatives are concrete. With the rise of math edtech tools, there are plenty of virtual math manipulatives available online. The digital math solution ExploreLearning Frax provides fraction block models and number lines so students can build fractions on their computer screen.
Students at tier 2 and 3 intervention may need to continue to use virtual and physical manipulatives, so it’s important to have math manipulatives easily accessible in your classroom.
Find additional RTI resources for your classroom when you sign up for ExploreLearning math solutions, Reflex and Frax. Both programs use evidence-based strategies to support students at all intervention levels. With Reflex and Frax students have access to: