As an educator we all have students in our classrooms that require more attention or even one on one instruction. This is true in any classroom whether you teach special education or regular education. As a special educator this is the case with all of my students. All of my students have different needs, different abilities, and different ways in which they learn. It is not an easy task to make sure that all of your students needs are met and there are going to be days that this does not happen within your classroom. Every day I strive for every student in my class to walk away with their needs being met and having learned at least one thing that day. I know that most teachers strive for the same thing with their students in their class. There are several teachers that have a regular education class but also have students with special needs in their class. This is a struggle for most teachers only because they are not trained in special education. If we want ALL of our students to have their needs met then we need to work together as a team. We don’t need to look at each student as just our student, we need to look at ALL students and say ALL students are ours and strive to help any and every student we come in contact with. Here are some of my ideas/strategies that I use to make sure my student’s needs are being met.
1. I group students by ability and not by grade. I teach students in Kindergarten through fifth grade. The reason I group by ability is because there are some students in fourth grade that are reading on a kindergarten level so I put them in the same group. This way when we split up into centers they are doing the same subject at the same time.
2. I plan for each student by ability and not by grade level. My students are not on the grade level that they are in, that is why they are in my room and it would be very unwise for me to make them do things on their grade level. My goal is to get them on grade level but to do that I need to start where they are and build on their prior knowledge. For example, I may have several students working on addition. I may have some students that are working on double digit addition with a number line and I may have other students doing simple addition with numbers up to 10 using counters. Each student is working on addition but on their level and the end result is the same that I am building on prior knowledge.
3. I take regular data on what each student is doing in my class. I use their IEP goals and take data on them to make sure they are progressing as they should.
4. I collaborate with my EA’s in my classroom on each student and see how they are doing. I may not see something or pick up on something that they do and they may have better ways or ideas on how to teach something.
5. Last but not least I collaborate with grade level teachers. I ask questions to see how they teach a certain subject so I can get ideas from them and sometimes I just bounce ideas off of them to see what they think. I am always open to new ideas and ways to teach my students. It takes a village to teach students and we all need to be open to new ideas. Remember it is ok to not have all the answers but it is not okay to not try.
There are many more ideas/strategies that can be used to help meet the needs of your students. I do not claim to be an expert or have all the answers and I learn what works by trial and error. This is what has worked for me and my classroom but I would love to hear any ideas/strategies that you have used and that have been successful in your classroom and for your students.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog and I cannot wait to hear what works for your classroom. Have a GREAT day.