I still get to see some of my kids who were switched into resource, because they’re only pulled out of core classes (not Math Intervention). Webbie and my Bass Drummer are two who would be doing pretty well in regular geometry if they hadn’t been thrown under the bus.
I showed them this site, and before I knew it, I was watching them solve equations without realizing it. I teased them to an understanding of how to get the answer, but I never said the words “divide,” “multiply,” “add,” or “subtract.” Scout’s honor. I only asked them questions about how much each would have to weigh if the total was such-and-such, or how much weight was left for those if you know these weigh such-and-such. At one point, I got out my Taco Cabana cups and my little math cubes and made my Bass Drummer split up 21 cubes into three cups rather than tell him to divide. It was wonderful, and they were having fun! They wanted the answer!
… Today in first period as we did more of them, Webbie was really proud that he knew how to do it faster than the rest of the class. At one point, after I chided him for typing in the answer before the class was ready, he said, “Miss—when you find something you know how to do, you gotta just DO it!”
AND, when he was getting stuck on one of them, he asked, “Miss, you still got those cups?” Which meant (even after he’d done some on the calculator!) that he was thinking of SPLITTING A NUMBER INTO GROUPS instead of pushing the “divide” button!! I was so proud of him.
That was the best part of this whole thing—watching the kids who are really good at memorizing the steps of how to solve equations (the kids who, if you ask them how they solved a problem, say something like “divide, multiply, subtract, divide”) struggle with the lack of direction, and watching the kids who usually aren’t good at procedures show their strengths at actual problem-solving.
In conclusion: special ed makes me mad, but manipulatives (both virtual and physical) are awesome. THIS one is next on my list.