Mathemagic: Multisensory and Mindful Math Strategies Tailored for the Individual

Many students struggle with the steps required to complete
mathematical problems.  They may
forget the concept, miss a step, mis-sequence the steps, misread a sign, or struggle
with writing out or lining up the numbers.  In fact, even if a student has understood and executed a
problem with precision, it doesn’t mean that they will retain that information at a
later time.  So what can we do to
help these students to encode, into long-term memory, the steps required to complete math
computations? 
The 3 Key Components
for Effective Math Instruction
1.     Go multisensory: Integrate as many of the
12 Ways of processing as you can into your instructional plan: Visual, Auditory, Tactile, Kinesthetic,
Sequential, Simultaneous, Reflective, Verbal, Interactive, Indirect Experience,
Direct Experience, and Rythmic
Melodic.  To learn more about this
click here 
2.    Teach metacognitive and mindful strategies:
Metacognition refers to
the act of thinking about thinking, or the cognition of cognition. It is the
ability to control your own thoughts. 
Mindfulness refers to being completely aware of the present moment, as
well as maintaining a non-judgmental approach. It
helps to develop emotional intelligence and it instructs students to pay
attention on purpose.  What’s more, mindfulness can help improve memory, test
scores, classroom behaviors and stress management.  To learn more about this click here
3.    Integrate creativity:  Integrating creative lessons and
assignments into the curriculum allows students to incorporate their imagination
and encourages active participation. 
Creative assignments also increases motivation for many students. 
Creating a Math Manual:
One of the most effective strategies I have ever employed
with students is creating a “math manual.”  This assignment or project unites the three components of
effective math instruction and also brings the fun factor into the
classroom.  This can be completed
throughout the academic year and checked for accuracy, so that students can use this resource for tests,
midterms, finals, and even state exams.
What Format Should be
Used?
Students can create the manual by hand or on a
computer.  It can be presented in a
photo album, a blank book, a binder, or a notebook.
Creating the Cover:
I encourage all of my students to come up with their own
unique, creative name and cover for their math manual.  In my illustration at the top of this blog, I called it
Mathemagic: A Magical Math
Manual. 
Create a Sequence of
Color Coded Steps:
Each student should write out the required steps to complete
the problem.  This can be done in a
linear fashion, a numbered list, a web or flow chart.  I also encourage students to color code the steps as this can also enhance memory.
Use Mnemonics:
Memory strategies are
tools that help students organize information before they file it away in their
memory banks.  I encourage my
students to create their own memory strategies and to use both visual and auditory mnemonics.
Complete a Sample
Problem:
Ask the students to provide a color coded sample problem
that illustrates the needed steps to complete a problem.
Other Options:
Ask your students to create
a song, poem, or rhyme with or without a dance routine to define the steps.  Integrating songs, rhymes and kinesthetics offers further modalities that will help to encode computation skills. 

Sample Math Manual Page:
I hope you you found this helpful!  If you would like a free copy of this division strategy, click here or on the image above.

Cheers, Erica

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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  1. […] math is difficult, work together to create a math manual.  Create a fun and enticing title for the project and use images, define the sequence of steps […]

  2. […] If you would like to do something similar for math, come read my blog entitled Mathemagic: Multisensory and Mindful Math Strategies Tailored for the Individual  […]

  3. […] other imagery activities to help your students learn math concepts, you might like my blog entitled Mathemagic or my products Measurement Memory Strategies or Why We Should Learn about […]

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