As part of an ongoing initiative, Numeracy for All — A Community of Practice, Alberta teachers are sharing their experiences with the Equals math curriculum for students with significant disabilities on a publicly readable Wiki.
In 2012 – 2013 Alberta Education, in collaboration with Central Alberta Regional Consortium (CARC), started a community of practice called Numeracy for All. The purpose of the community was “to enhance teacher capacity in mathematics instruction and numeracy development for Grade 1 to 6 students with significant disabilities.”
The Equals Mathematics curriculum from AbleNet, localized for Canada by Bridges, was used as the key teaching resource for the project.
The wiki has great insight on how Equals was successfully put into practice in Alberta. And it is also an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn more about instruction and numeracy development for students with significant disabilities.
Last year was my first year teaching my program and it was also my first year of teaching. I did not have a curriculum to work from and really struggled in trying to present my students with a balanced academic and life skills program. Using the ‘Equals’ program has significantly impacted my classroom. It has presented me with a plan that I can alter to suit each individual’s level and needs. The resources have been amazing. My students love the manipulatives. Their level of engagement is very high and they love math class now. Even if they are not always achieving the desired outcome, they are sitting, engaged and participating in the lessons.
The wiki has lots of feedback on the project, like the quote from a teacher above. As well as pictures of classroom setups and extension activities, practical advice, apps and website reviews.
In 2013 – 2014 the project continued with grades 7 to 12 teachers.
Here are some more of the dozens of comments from Alberta educators on the website:
Since using the Equals program my lessons have a better more meaningful flow with many connections.
Equals has helped me develop a broader sense of numeracy, helped me learn where my student’s numeracy skills are at and helped me create more meaningful numeracy lessons.
This project has greatly impacted my ability to teach math to my students.
This project has had me question many of my assumptions of what individual students knew and did not know. Sometimes it is easy to forget that the students we work with have very fragmented skills. This program has helped me find and target those missing skills.
I think the lesson books are fantastic and set a great framework for planning.