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How to differentiate with Think Mentals

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How to differentiate with Think Mentals

Think Mentals 18/10/22

Providing effective differentiation in your mental maths lessons can be tricky. Let’s have a look at how Think Mentals can help. Whether you’re using the student workbooks or the digital platform, there are plenty of opportunities to support and extend your students.

When students need support

Reteach the strategies – If you notice several students struggling or falling behind, go back and reteach a strategy. Sometimes it just takes an additional explicit teaching lesson to help strategies sink in for students. If you have student workbooks, use the free projectable strategy snapshots at thinkmentalsanswers.com.au to revise a strategy. If you have Think Mentals Digital, use the handy strategy videos for a quick refresher on a given strategy.

Encourage jotting – Students may be apprehensive about mental computation because they struggle to keep track of the numbers in their heads. When applying mental computation strategies, it can be extremely helpful for students to jot down numbers to free up mental space to complete the equation or challenge. Read our article How jotting helps with mental computation for more tips on using jotting.

Use the reset function – If you’re using Think Mentals Digital, you can take advantage of the handy reset function to give your students another go at an activity. Simply navigate to an activity and select the Tracker. Find the student whose activity you’d like to reset, select any answer cell next to their name, and click the Reset Activity prompt. Keep in mind, this feature only applies to individual students, not the whole class.

When students need an extra challenge

Race against the clock – Extension students may enjoy the motivation of a time trial. If you’re using the student workbooks, ask your extension students to time themselves and record their time in the dedicated space at the bottom of each day’s practice questions.

Use the Think Box activities – Available in both the student workbooks and as downloadable worksheets at Think Mentals Digital, these problem-solving activities are perfect for students who need an extra challenge. They are located in the Revision Units, but you can direct students to them at any time during the week!

Extra tips and tools

Monitor student performance with the Activity Tracker – If you’re using Think Mentals Digital, use the Activity Tracker to help you quickly identify students who need support or extension. For every activity set, the Tracker populates in real-time, highlighting which students are struggling and which are breezing through their work. This allows you to quickly intercept and remediate where needed, or have challenges like the Think Box activities ready for students who finish first.

Have students buddy up – Ask your fast finishers to buddy up with students who might need some extra help and have those students explain how they are using the strategies in their own words. Peer learning can help students reflect on their learning, enhance their confidence and build a collaborative learning environment.

Do you have any other tips for differentiation in your Think Mentals lessons? Share your ideas with us via Facebook or Instagram!

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