For many years, my professional focus has been on finding ways to more effectively teach arithmetic, the cornerstone of elementary mathematics. In every class I’ve taught, there are always students who present a challenge. Many are already at least a year behind and lack the foundation of mathematical understanding on which to build new learning. They typically have multiple misconceptions that hamper their progress, have experienced failure, and lack confidence. And they often find themselves being asked to catch up on foundational skills in summer school.
Such students not only demand more time and attention; they also benefit from instruction that is designed specifically for their success. Ariana, Paul, Belinda, and Trent are examples of the students my team of master teachers and I wanted to reach as we developed our math program for struggling learners. Here are some strategies to help teachers reach students in four foundational skill areas.