SIX Creative Ways to Differentiate Math Instruction with Technology
I’m so excited to share these six creative ways to differentiate math instruction with technology!
This week has been fun because my laptop and my hairdryer broke! It’s okay. I’m okay – sort of. One thing teachers know how to do is adapt and overcome. That’s just what we do during this season.
Now that we have so many different teaching options, it’s important to talk about how we can differentiate math instruction with technology in and out of the classroom.
I’ll be a little vulnerable and admit that I got a little sad when I saw a teacher left me a 4/5 star review on my Digital Math Games. She mentioned that she “wished there was a way to check her students’ answers on my digital math games.
I’m going to quote my friend Sweet Brown and tell you, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
These games were designed to be used in several different ways. This includes using them for guided instruction, independent practice during remote learning, and for math centers.
Today, I’ll explain how you can differentiate these digital math games with technology so that you can get more bang for your buck! Want to try these strategies with a FREE Digital Math Game? Click HERE!
Differentiate Math Instruction with Math By Myself
Math by myself is where students get to practice skills independently. It provides students an opportunity to take more risks since it is a low risk activity. This means, they can experiment with their knowledge without being penalized for being wrong.
In a regular classroom setting, students would work on math games while I’m working with a small group on another skill. This would work with students and classrooms that are 1:1.
In a socially distanced classroom, I would allow my students to work on these digital math games independently while I walk around the room and scan their papers for any mistakes or misconceptions.
In a completely remote classroom setting, I would assign these practice games to my students and have them submit their work to me by snapping a picture of their problem-solving… That is of course IF I wanted to check their work.
Differentiate Math Instruction with Small Groups
Another way you can use these digital math games is by pulling groups of 2, 3, or even 4 to work on these problems on an interactive whiteboard. This will give you an opportunity to monitor student’s actions and provide feedback.
In a regular classroom setting, you can easily have your students participate by taking turns and using an interactive whiteboard. You may want to consider providing some printables or whiteboards for the students to show their thinking.
In a socially distanced classroom, you can allow students to work on these problems by going LIVE on Teams, Google Meet, or whatever it is you use to work face-to-face with your class. Meet with your group and display the problem on the screen. This also works for remote teaching!
Use Daily Warm-Ups to Differentiate Math Instruction with Technology
Begin your math block by reviewing a previously taught skill. Then, take turns modeling and answering 4 to 5 problems. Since I’ve included 20 problems in each game, you can easily break these a part so that the game will last an entire week.
In a regular classroom setting, have your students participate in a think-pair-share. Give time for students to solve the problem independently. Then, give them time to meet with a partner to share their thinking. Finally, students share their thinking with the class.
In a socially distanced classroom, you could also do a think-pair-share or try this… Lead students in a class discussion. Next, have students share their thinking via Flipgrid or through different media. Finally, students can watch, comment, and like each other’s media.
Create a Math Lab
I never experienced a math lab until I went to college. It was such a great experience! It helped me build confidence in myself as a mathematician. Here’s how you do it!
At the end of the week, or unit, place students in groups of 2, 3, or 4. These may be permanent groups or random groups. Lead all groups by presenting the problem. Then, have students work in groups to solve the problem. They may choose to solve it independently and then share with one another, or they may choose to work together to solve it.
In a socially distanced classroom, the groups may be placed in virtual breakout rooms. While it is impossible to be in all of the groups at once, you can pop in and out of the groups to check-in and listen.
After groups have had time to discuss the problem, bring everyone back on the chat to share their thinking.
Use Choice Boards to Differentiate Math Instruction with Technology
When you give them access to choice boards, be sure that the topics are prerequisites. This will help them master tricky concepts and skills before moving on. It also ensures that they may not need to teach them how to do it before you give access to it.
I have included hyperlinked choice boards in every grade level bundle. These serve as choice boards for students. Of course you can assign games to your students, but now they can set goals and work on skills things they think are fun!
Use a Gradual Release Approach
Whether you’re a classroom teacher or a homeschool teacher, this strategy will work! Start by teaching the math concept or skill. Then, demonstrate it using the first four to five problems in the digital math game. Next, guide students in solving the problems with specific prompts (e.g. “Where do we begin on the number line?”) using the next five problems.
After that, have students practice solving the next five problems either with a partner or by explaining it to you. Finally, give students permission to solve the last five problems on their own.
- Problems 1 – 5 Teacher-Led
- Problems 6 – 10 Guided Practice
- Problems 11 – 15 Paired Practice
- Problems 16 – 20 Independent Practice
Here’s a BONUS tip! Keep digital games available in students’ online files. This way, they can have access throughout the entire school year. They’ll be able to review anytime they need or want to.
You may also want to consider purchasing the MEGA BUNDLE so that you can assign other lessons that may require prerequisites for the new skill or concept.