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dmmetler

Those who teach developmental college classes-ideas/suggestions?

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BK has multiple LD’s including dyscalculia.

 

This semester, she is in two math classes. One is the first class for education majors, focused on how to teach math. It’s a traditional class, and she often miscopies mid-problem, but the instructor can see it.

 

However, she is also required to take a “support classâ€, which is all online with teacher support. She can get fairly confident on the problems on paper, but when she goes to do an assignment on the computer, about 3/4of the time, she gets the wrong answer. And, if she misses more than X on a given set, she has to start from scratch, and the software doesn’t show her mistakes, so she can’t see where she truly doesb’f Understand and where she just miscopied along the way. Poor kid is now several weeks behind and spending far more time on the non-credit pass/fail class than her other classes.

 

She has a meeting next week with her SSD counselor and the instructor, because it’s obvious that this isn’t working. I’m wondering how other schools would handle this.

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Why is she miscopying?  That's got to have been a known problem from K12. 

 

The common strategy my dc uses with online math -- the type where the computer shows a problem from its databank and the student works the problem on his paper, then inputs the answer --is to print out, work the problem, then if answer is wrong, seek help at math center. He eventually realized he needed to get with the study group before inputting any answers.  In between, his strategy ,worked out with OT/Math teacher in K12 ,involves lined paper and giving himself a lot of space in between his solution lines so he can check his work for copy errors. 

 

If there is a vision issue, she needs to use her glasses or adjust the screen.  She may also enlarge her printouts. 

 

-- just a btdt parent here

 

 

Edited by Heigh Ho
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It’s a very known problem, and one reason why she ended up in developmental classes-her ACT was abysmal. Unfortunately, she largely slipped through the cracks at school and once home, the focus was getting her reading up to level, and since she can largely do math correctly on paper, albeit slowly, and mistakes can usually be identified as miscopying. Then she did the ACT, and got extra time, but nothing else, and...here we are.

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The only accommodations I've had someone with dyscalculia receive were extra time. I've had a friend who had a student whose accommodation was use of a 4-function calculator even on tests which normally banned calculators. 

 

What sorts of copy errors is she making? Copying off the screen? Between steps? 

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the copy errors are the dyspraxia

 

 She needs to make sure there are no vision issues and then work thru the possible causes.  what does she do?

 

I had poor vision and gross & fine motor at that age, I had to give myself lots of room on the paper , consciously plan, and pick a writing tool/paper combo that gave me good contrast and some resistance to my fingers (Bic flair marker on a yellow legal pad) .  

 

she's got to reason thru, try a few things, or work with a specialist. the college is only responsible for supplying the accomodations, not for identifying the reasons behind her difficulties.

Edited by Heigh Ho
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It’s things like reading an addition sign as a division one, turning 4 into 9, and similar things. I can definitely see it when I sit next to her, but she’s doing most of her work between shifts at work. It wasn’t until I sat with her and just watched what she was doing that it became so obvious just how much it was slowing her down-it might take 4-5 tries for her to actually get a problem to paper, work it, (and also sometimes transcription errors in intermediate steps or in transferring to a calculator or back) and then transfer the answer back. She’s working hard and spending a lot of time. It’s just that what she is doing is not working.

 

She’s getting a lot of pressure from her parents,which isn’t helping. Her boyfriend will tend to step in and do it for her, but leave her even more confused.

 

If she were doing this in my homeschool, I’d drop the number of problems, work on transcribing correctly, and assume we’d go through the summer.

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Write very large. Use lots of paper. Paper is cheaper than repeating classes. It helps with things like misreading. 

 

Learn a new way of writing numbers that will reduce copy errors. I always loop my 2's and make a cross on my 7's so that they don't look like each other. If she's misreading 4 as 9 I'm guessing she's writing a closed 4 and the 9 with a straight down vertical line, in which case they look very very similar. I recommend learning to write the open 4 instead -- the one that looks like an upside down h. 

 

Hold the paper up to the computer after copying the problem down to compare them side by side. 

 

Audibly say the numbers while copying them down. Involving another sense helps. 

 

Hold the calculator right next to the paper to verify copying when entering things into the calculator. 

 

And I just noticed the thing about the boyfriend. Unless she can carry him into the tests to take them for her, he needs to cut that crap out. Doing someone's math homework for them is like practicing the piano for them. 

Edited by kiana
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Boyfriend is convinced all her problems are due to homeschooling, and thinks that “showing†is the same as teaching.

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sounds like she has vision issues, when was her last exam?  but do you feel sloppy handwriting is also a part of it?

 

what device screen is she reading?  can she read the correct sign or numeral , before she even tries to write it down?  what if she enlarges the screen?

 

can she read numbers of the calculator keypad and display without error?

 

has she tried highlighting the part she is copying, then comparing?

 

don't discount the bf, learning to deal with copy errors is usually a part of K-12 math

 

ditto on kiana's recs

 

can she get evaluated?

 

 

Edited by Heigh Ho
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I have no idea if she has been evaluated for vision issues beyond just a regular eye exam. She had a neuropsych exam a few years ago, which is how she is qualified for the accommodations she does get. I’ve known her for years, but it wasn’t until about a year ago that she asked me for help with the college process, etc, feeling like she wasn’t getting it from her family. Her education has been rather on the unschooly side since she was pulled out at age 12, except for reading.

 

She has a small windows 2 in 1, which probably doesn’t help. The screen is about the size of my iPad.

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She can print them when she’s on campus, at least for the homework sets, and I had her do so, but when she goes back on her laptop,it will generate a different set. She can print and work on a bigger monitor at my house (and we have dual monitors on DD’s school computer), so we can try that and see if it helps to work on a bigger screen where she can leave the session open until she finishes the set.

 

I guess I’m old school-it seems like so much of the problem would be minimized if she just had a regular textbook and turned in problem sets on notebook paper!

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Ya. But there are actually reasons for this.

 

When I have my students (especially in developmental classes) turn in handwritten homework, they get it back, maybe look at the number on the front and never look at it again. Often the entire assignment is done incorrectly because they make the same mistake on every single problem. And so their mistakes compound. 

 

The computerized homework immediately says whether it's right or wrong, and gives extra chances to keep trying to get it right (which I can't really do in a traditional f2f class due to turnaround time). 

 

There are definite flaws as well. It's good for problems with numerical answers, or problems like "factor this". I require both types of homework, because computerized homework is horrible at teaching graphing or asking questions involving reasoning. 

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One of mine had problems with misreading. I had him circle all the operations in red and underline all the numbers in blue before he did anything.  I had him read the digits backwards when checking whether he had copied the problem correctly.  I had him copy all computer problems onto paper and read them backwards to double check.  I had him use a clear numeral font when copying.  I had him work his problems on graph paper.  I had him do everything twice and check that the answers were the same.  Stuff like that.  He outgrew some of the problems (between 18 and 25) and he learned to work more carefully.  Good luck!

 

Nan

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Is it a web browser interface? Maybe an iPad and a piece of paper sitting right next to each other on a table, rather than a vertical computer screen and a horizontal paper notebook.

 

Or, if she can get a cheap printer, print screen each problem and work it right on the print out?

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Thanks, everyone. I really wish I’d had the chance to work with this kid much earlier. The assumption seems to have been that she wasn’t college material, so let’s make sure she has life skills. And, unfortunately, that means maybe 6th grade math. It’s hard to tell what is LD and what is lack of instruction and practice.

 

 

Apparently she does have glasses but says they give her headaches-so she has an appointment nezt week. I’m hoping a new prescription will make copying errors less common.

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When you get a chance get an eye appointment that looks at how her eyes track and whether they work together. A general appointment is just going to assess how well each eye can see, not whether they work together. If her eyes are not working together she will gave tracking issues and headaches and difficulty copying assignments.

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She can print them when she’s on campus, at least for the homework sets, and I had her do so, but when she goes back on her laptop,it will generate a different set. She can print and work on a bigger monitor at my house (and we have dual monitors on DD’s school computer), so we can try that and see if it helps to work on a bigger screen where she can leave the session open until she finishes the set.

 

I guess I’m old school-it seems like so much of the problem would be minimized if she just had a regular textbook and turned in problem sets on notebook paper!

Check and make sure that she cannot print out the problems (without answering them), work them on paper, and then go back and put answers in the computer.  Most of the online homework problem software I have used does have a setting for that.  Sometimes I professor can turn that setting off to prevent a student from printing out the problems and returning with the same numbers; if that is the case, perhaps she could request that the setting be changed for her.  

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Thanks, everyone. I really wish I’d had the chance to work with this kid much earlier. The assumption seems to have been that she wasn’t college material, so let’s make sure she has life skills. And, unfortunately, that means maybe 6th grade math. It’s hard to tell what is LD and what is lack of instruction and practice.

 

 

Apparently she does have glasses but says they give her headaches-so she has an appointment nezt week. I’m hoping a new prescription will make copying errors less common.

 

I had a student like that.  She and I had the same problem figuring out which were lds and which were misconceptions or lack of information.  I gave up trying to guess and plug up holes and just took her through the Singapore 6th grade math book (except the test prep at the end).  We worked hard at translating mathese into English (multiplication is a rectangle, x means "of", some set theory, etc.) and getting good at using bar diagrams (Singapore math teaches this, my engineer father taught me ages ago).  When she was done with that, she took the math placement test at the community college and started with algebra 1 there (not for college credit).

 

Good luck!

Nan

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The instructor printed the test, let her do it on paper, and hand corrected it. BK still didn't quite get the score she needs, but now she has the teacher's corrections to study from and work from, and hopefully will be able to get through it before Spring Break. She's got appointments set with her neurologist to talk about going back on ADHD meds (she hates taking them, but they may be necessary) and with the developmental optometrist at the optometry college (just in case it's more than just needing glasses. She has had vision therapy in the past, apparently, so maybe she needs a refresher).

 

 

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The instructor printed the test, let her do it on paper, and hand corrected it. BK still didn't quite get the score she needs, but now she has the teacher's corrections to study from and work from, and hopefully will be able to get through it before Spring Break. She's got appointments set with her neurologist to talk about going back on ADHD meds (she hates taking them, but they may be necessary) and with the developmental optometrist at the optometry college (just in case it's more than just needing glasses. She has had vision therapy in the past, apparently, so maybe she needs a refresher).

 

Has she been able to enlarge the display, adjust contrast etc on her computer screen ?  That helps reduce copy errors quite a bit if she's not printing out.  The other thing she needs to do is study group or math help center.

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