3 grade levels in a classroom

Discussion in 'Special Education Archives' started by Guest, Dec 10, 2002.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Dec 10, 2002

    Hi. I am extremely frustrated and ready to quit my teaching position.
    I teach in an 8:1:1 self-contained classroom. This is my 2nd year in this school. I have also taught at the day treatment level for 5 years. I have some extremely difficult students in my classroom. I have 1 student who is bi-polar and very unpredictable with his behavior. Due to this, 2 of my other students constantly would try to beat him up. I was relying on the support of our principal. Well she came down to assist when needed, but spoke to me because she felt I was calling her too much. But things would get out of hand. I do have some behavior management strategies in my classroom. Students can earn stamps for treats or paper certificates. They can earn group rewards as well. I make positive phone calls home as well. However, I was getting the heat about who should deal with the students' behavior. Sometimes my Para and I felt like security personnel.

    Some of these issues have subsided. Now I am getting the heat because it is felt I am not doing enough curriculum in the areas of social studies and science. I have been focusing on writing, reading, and math because these are the basics that my students have not mastered. I did some social studies and science. But I feel my classroom schedule is so packed. I am expected to teach 3 grade levels of curriculum. I have 3rd-5th grade in my classroom.
    I am only allotted 30 minutes of planning time a day. I looked over the curriculum for the 3 grade levels of social studies and the only topic that is a commonality is government. I spend a lot of my own time planning at home and developing my own activity sheets as well to go along with lessons. Now I need to revamp my entire schedule and I shared this with my principal as well.

    My students need to have some recess times during the day. Think of how it might be with 4 out of 5 students with ADHD and sitting at their desks all day without moving around. My break person will not even allow my students to have free time activities because she has a difficult time with them, so I have to provide a packet of activities at their desks to complete too! I have to integrate some type of recess time for them. Maybe some think this is not necessary, but I have all boys and 1 girl and they need to move around and time to release their energy or they get very irritable and edgy. Hence we have behavior problems!!

    Suggestions anyone?? Thank you.
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Dec 28, 2002

    3grade levels

    I, too, teach a self-contained Varying Exceptionality Intermediate classroom (grades 4, 5, 6). I presently have 20 students (2 more coming after the holidays)and have recently been given an assistant. I agree, that it can be very difficult to teach a multi-level classroom full of students with all types of learning/behavioral disabilities, but I wouldn't trade it for the world! I think that you need to choose one grade level to teach from - sounds like 4th would be the most appropriate for you. Use those textbooks for social studies and science curriculum this year. You need to look at those areas as opportunities to teach additional reading comprehension skills using those area texts - you could also incorporate writing and mathematics to go along with the text that is being read. And you don't need to focus on science and social studies every day - try spending 2-3 days per week on one subject or another - maybe even 2 weeks social studies and 2 weeks science.

    Even though my students represent 3 different grade levels - I still group them according to their instructional abilities, so I may have some 4th graders working along side of 5 or 6th graders in math, reading, spelling, etc.

    I choose topics that I can rotate each year, so that when all is said and done, all of my students will have been exposed to all curriculum areas that are associated with each grade level by the time they graduate from elementary in the 6th grade - that way you don't repeat - and have 3 years of curriculum planned ahead of time.

    Hope this helps - I was kind of envious of your having only 8 students - what a deal!
  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Aug 2, 2002
    Likes Received:

    Dec 28, 2002

    I have a small regular class in a private school. I have 11 total, 2 with ADHD (diagnosed), 1 with dyslexia and processing problems, 1 with low IQ, 1 with latent problems due to early childhood abuse and foster care, as well as at least 3 gifted kids. Quite a mix. I try to provide lots of opportunities for movement while still keeping control. Here are a few ideas:

    toss a beachball to kids while they sit on their desks - they must be alert and watching for the ball because they have to catch it before answering a question (spelling words, math problems, etc). They return it to you (toss, not volleyball)

    for new spelling words - each kid starts at paper on own desk, you say the word and they spell it, then you say 1-2-3 shift and they move to the next desk and use the paper found there to spell word number 2, and so on ....there are many options to correcting at the end - they can catch someone else's mistake, vote on correct spellings, etc.

    play jeopardy - not too physical, but fun - use posterboard and attach 9 library card pockets - I used brights on black posterboard - label each pocket with a dollar value - write questions on index cards and hand out play money for correct responses, collecting it for incorrect answers - i've used this for social studies, math, grammar

    listening game - each child gets a card which says something like, "I have 10, who has half of 30?", "I have 15, who has 4 X 9?" etc. You write the cards out in advance - the trick is making sure everyone has an answer card and that only one leads back to a beginning card (mark first and last cards), we play this with kids trying to be silent so they can "listen carefully" for their cues

    try this for spelling or math drills - if you are wearing red, spell 'because' .... if you have blue eyes, tell the product of 7 and 8 .... they love this game

    I put a few math problems on the board each morning for morning review - sometimes I put something they haven't seen yet - say dividing with decimals.... they don't know how to do it .... tell them to just try and see how they might find an answer .... that there is a secret method which you will reveal when you go over the problems - this allows you to slip in higher level material without frustrating the less developed group

    we play spelling bingo for candy every week - they beg for this and are very attentive - when someone says bingo, they have to spell each of the words in their row or column before they have officially
    'won' - it is good practice with homophones (if I called out "'where' as in where do you live?" and the students spells 'wear', they don't have a win)

    Hope these ideas can help you too.
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Dec 30, 2002

    I'm with you

    Two can be the equivalent of twenty if they've got behavior issues.
    I would ask the sweet principal just what suggestions she has - realizing that her answer will probably be "oh, you're the special education teacher, you are supposed to know that!!"
    At which point I would say "well, when doing a, b, c, d and e doesn't work then a more restrictive environment maybe in order" or "I could use some specific trainign in..." or some other way to let her know that well, probably, this kiddo needs more help than you can give to keep the class situation from requiring principal intervention -- or I'd say "what these kiddos needs more than anythign else is *consistency* and if we provide it then the need for drastic intervention will diminish."
    And I"d document, document, document -- especially where there are real concerns for student/teacher safety. What you don't want is to be at the wrong end of the stick if violence happens & the wrong person gets hurt and you're held accountable.

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