American Fork Junior High School: Resource Math

Resource math can be a lot of fun. Typically there are two teachers per class. Resource kids can just be a bit naughty. Fortunately the teacher I was working was a professional and the students respected him. I also had some of the kids in class from choir yesterday, so they already knew me and that sometimes I can be a little strict.

Today we were multiplying fractions. School is different than when I was a kid. I was was doing this in fourth grade, but that has nothing to do with the present. It is also possible that kids in mainstream classes are a bit ahead as well. Funny thing was when I started helping kids and then when the teacher called them up, the kids did the old school way I know and taught them. It was all about structuring the problem so it was easy to do mentally. The teacher laughed. He hadn’t seen fractions taught that way since he was in elementary school as well, but he said it was a very easy way to multiply fractions without using a calculator and if the students practiced, they would be faster than a calculator, too.

The final class was one I taught with a para-educator helping. This class was filled with behaviorally-disabled kids, kids on the autistic spectrum and kids newly arrived from Mexico. Fortunately, last year I taught this same population type at Orem Junior High quite often. They started testing the boundaries, but I cut them off and I pointed out the regular teacher had a solid plan for the day and that anyone acting up would get to spend the class in the disciplinarian’s office. One kids started to behavior, but when I pointed out that what he was doing was his choice and that I really didn’t care, he calmed down and did the class work. In this class we were doing simple division. This math was new to almost everyone and/or their disabilities messed with their ability to understand or perceive numbers.

I worked really slowly with them by wandering around and standing most of the time near mister act-out. The class went great. When we left for the day, they were all smiles and conversant. This is how junior high and middle-school is supposed to be. On Monday, I will be back with the exact same kids. I think I will write something specifically for them as a warm up for a repeat of the same lesson.

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