Khan Academy: differentiated math instruction
What can differentiated math instruction look like? On most days in Anna’s classroom, it includes students working on their 1:1s on Khan Academy. Khan Academy is easy to implement with either a more controlled and focused approach or a general foundational approach. Both are differentiated – yay! Both are sustainable – yay, yay! That extra yay! is us celebrating as we work to build our own sustainable teaching practices.
Khan Academy is:
Khan Academy is an online collection of video lessons that teach math and several concepts including engineering and science. In addition, they provide tasks that assess learners’ ability to apply those concepts. Khan is also working together with Pixar on projects that strengthen learners’ writing. The content on Khan Academy’s website is mostly in English however it’s also provided in other languages.
Some pluses of Khan Academy are:
- Khan Academy automatically differentiates instruction. If kids respond to tasks showing that they get the concept, they’re moved on in just a few minutes. Add to that the fact that they can progress as far as they’re able, their math world adventures seem limitless and it grows their understanding and ability to apply their knowledge.
- It’s a genuine solution for parents who want to support their kids with extra instruction and/or practice at home. Khan gives that support to both advanced and struggling mathematicians.
- Kids who make connections quickly will run with it and progress through math standards at multiple grade levels.
- Kids who struggle with number sense and problem-solving will get the additional practice they need because Khan will recognize their deficit then cycle around with more lessons. Repeated practice builds motor memory but there’s also such a thing of beating a dead horse (there must be a story to that saying because it conjures up a bad image!). But seriously, sometimes kids need a little time for a concept to sink in before trying it again. Moving on to another math concept, then cycling back, gives that support.
- Instructional videos vary in length from about one minute to about six which makes it easy to fit into short time slots.
- It generates weekly reports which make it helpful for tracking progress on math standards.
The long-short of Khan Academy for us:
- We let our kiddos run with it! We feel confident that their time on the site helps them build their number sense and fills in any Swiss cheese holes in their understanding. Yes, we know that we can use it to identify students’ deficits and focus on them, however, we think our kiddos are benefitting from the foundational work.
- We use it for early finishers in addition to a short segment of daily time built into students’ schedules (think morning work).
- For those parents who want to support and enrich their kids’ education, it’s a great solution – easily implemented and comprehensive.
- It’s authentic! It’s automated! It runs itself! It’s sustainable! In this crazy-busy time, that’s priceless.
Genuine. Comprehensive. Limitless while giving tons of support. Sustainable. That makes Khan Academy a great resource in our eyes. Thoughts? Share your ideas on what it means in your classroom.
Sustainable math practices – you’ve got this!