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Resources for Math Teachers - From the Classroom of Maggie Raburn

Spring Valley School’s Maggie Raburn is a math teacher for grades six and seven. Maggie obtained her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Alabama in May 2014. Shortly after, she started working at Spring Valley, first as a substitute teacher, then as a full-time faculty member. Maggie’s interest in learning differences originated in college when she was completing her Human Development and Child Psychology courses.

Maggie is now in her ninth-year of teaching at Spring Valley, and her extensive teaching experiences have revealed a multitude of resources that have proven helpful, particularly in the field of mathematics.

The best training that I have received through Spring Valley is the Orton-Gillingham training. This is a multi-sensory math training that is now available online. An example of this method goes like this:

If we had negative eight plus five, we would draw eight negative signs and five positives, cancel out a negative and a positive, and see what’s left. There would be three negative signs, so the answer is negative three.

This method allows my students to come up with different patterns and ways to get the correct answer on their own.

Another resource that I often use is the Integer Block Kit from Math-U-See. Used at Spring Valley from first grade all the way through middle school, students use these manipulatives to visually add, subtract, multiply and divide. Teaching math vocabulary is an integral building block to teaching math. I use a math dictionary, a vocabulary log, and a drill deck as warm-ups throughout the school year.

Maggie Raburn using the drill deck with her class

Vocabulary Log (Example 1)

Vocabulary Log (Example 2)

I am often asked how LD teachers can support their students’ parents when it comes to homework. My answer is always “to not help them”. Because the students are being taught a different way of teaching math to accommodate for their learning differences, a lot of times parents try to intervene and re-teach their child the way they learned growing up. This can result in confusion and frustration. Instead, when parents see their child doing math, or any subject for that matter, in a way that looks unfamiliar to them, simply ask for the child to explain it. Letting the child teach the concept to the parent allows the parent to be involved without possibly confusing their child. As an additional aid, I often upload videos and problems online, in our Google Classroom, so that parents and students can watch and work through their homework together.

Maggie Raburn

Middle School Mathematics

Spring Valley School


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