Making Math Fun As the special education teacher at Fall Creek Elementary School in Wisconsin, Nathan Simonson loves helping his students succeed. “We celebrate successes that are huge for them, but that others might take for granted, like learning to zip up a coat or tie shoes,” he says. He also loves finding strategies to get his 16 students, who have intellectual, learning and behavioral disabilities, excited about learning. “It’s how you engage them that makes the difference. For instance, to help teach reading, I’ll use puppets or bring food related to the story,” Simonson points out. When Simonson’s students were struggling in math, he knew acquiring some new materials would help them succeed. A co-worker told the Fall Creek Lions about Simonson’s dilemma, and they came through with funds to purchase a unique math curriculum. The Math-U-See curriculum uses a multisensory, individualized approach that enables students to learn at their own pace and ability levels. “The curriculum works with different students—those who like hands-on learning can use the blocks, students who love video games can use the iPad app and those who like using a pencil and paper can use worksheets,” says Simonson. Simonson’s class presented this hand-drawn thank-you card to the Lions. The school also shared a thank-you letter on its Facebook page and in its newsletter. Simonson has been thrilled to see his students enjoying math and picking up new concepts. “They love using the manipulative blocks. They build things and then count them to learn numbers or how tall something is. One student recently counted backward for the first time using the blocks. That was quite a moment for him. When you find that ‘one thing’ that reaches a student, as we did with this curriculum, the students take off on the road to success.” Lions, has your club heard from a recipient of your service or charity? Tell us about the feedback you’ve received from those whose lives you’ve changed for the better. Email a brief description to email@example.com. Please include “Thank You” in the subject line.
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