3 grade levels in one classroom?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by Jerseygirlteach, Jun 17, 2014.

  1. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Jun 17, 2014

    I teach self-contained MD (multiple disabilities) class. For the past two years, I've have 3rd and 4th grade. My principal just gave me the heads up that next year I'll have 2nd-4th grade - 16 of them. I'm really nervous about making that work. My students generally do not work well independently and it will only be me and my para. My classroom technology is also limited. I have four computers, but they don't always work as well as they should.

    I'm nervous about designing a program that keeps a wide range of learners - in both age and ability - academically focused all day long when there's so many of them and so few of me. :)

    Any ideas/suggestions for how to break up things like math, spelling, writing, reading, etc? And would you still do things like science and social studies as a whole group?

    FYI - my students usually function at about 2-3 years below grade level, sometimes more.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. deefreddy

    deefreddy Companion

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    Jun 17, 2014

    I teach HS severe and multiple disabilities self-contained with sometimes as many as five grade levels. I almost always teach in small groups leveled by ability for reading, writing, and math, and do larger groups for cooking, science, and social studies. Groups are usually 3 or more students. Schedule, schedule, schedule! Make sure your paras know who they should be working with, what they need to be doing, and how they should take over when you get called away. Almost none of my students can work independently, so you need to find something that can keep each student's interest for 15 minutes or longer, and then use that activity when you need to work more one-on-one with other students.
     
  4. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Jun 17, 2014

    We have multi-grades in all of our SPE classes in my building. They are moderate ID. One class is k-6 but I think they are going to split it. This past year she had 12 - 14 kids and 2 aides. The next class was 7th-12th, 11 students, 2 aides. I had 11th-12th, 12 students 1 aide. The elem. teacher had a room full. It is rough but it can be done. She did center rotations with them so each bunch could get some 1:1 for the academics with either her or the aides.
     
  5. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Jun 17, 2014

    Thanks. My concern is that I'll have to give busy work throughout the day so I can work with more groups, rather than ever being able to have them all engaged in something meaningful, together. I guess I can make it work, but it sounds less than ideal to me.

    By the way, I'm pretty sure I'll only have one aide - and 16 kids.
     
  6. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Jun 17, 2014

    Do you have a smartboard? When I had preschool, I used abcmouse.com and starfall.com for a lot of whole group activities.
     
  7. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Jun 18, 2014

    In case you were wondering, 16 students, 1 aide, and 1 teacher is the limit per NJ law - see http://www.state.nj.us/education/code/current/title6a/chap14.pdf pages 123-125
     
  8. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Jun 18, 2014

  9. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

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    Jun 18, 2014

    16 is crazy! I am so sorry you are in this situation.
     
  10. smalltownteach

    smalltownteach New Member

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    Jul 14, 2014

    I had 21 students at a time during reading block in a Special Education 3rd ,4th, and 5th grade classroom with inclusion children coming in to bring the total to 21. (for part of the day) I had one teachers assistant, who was often used as a substitute. In my state there is no cap to how many students are put into an Exceptional Education classroom. If it weren't for an OUTSTANDING volunteer, we wouldn't have covered much territory!
     
  11. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jul 14, 2014

    I did a K-5 class for five years with one aide. We averaged 36 students per year. One year we had 52 students (a few were resource students, thank goodness!). There was no cut off in my district. We taught everything based on ability and, according to my aide, spent the majority of out time "putting out fires." :eek:hmy:
     
  12. Busy Bug

    Busy Bug Rookie

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    Jul 14, 2014

    After reading all your posts I am feeling very blessed that my first teaching position will be with only 9 kids on my caseload in middle school special education.
     
  13. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    Jul 15, 2014

    I have four grades and twelve kids. We do whole class for some activities such as morning meeting or music. We do centers once or twice a day. The activities in each center are adjusted depending on the participants but all focus on core subjects or life skills. I had tried whole class but frankly there are too many levels in my class to make that possible. The aides and I work at tables with small groups of kids during GOAL TIME. The students work in their folders or binders. Those who cannot do that type of work yet do TEACCH tasks, use I Pads, or use manipulatives in specific activities. What helped me was to not just look at grade level but the abilities. The groups are not just set up by ability levels but that is where I start. Getting away from just focusing on grade levels is what saved my sanity. Look at similar types of activities for the centers - matching, sorting, playing a game, listening center.
    Students use the computers with one aide present. I've had a few students who could use them independently but it works better with one very attentive aide monitoring. We have a great deal of pull out and push in specialist activities in addition to bathroom visits and aide breaks.
     
  14. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Jul 18, 2014

    I'm shoving 14 sixth and seventh graders in a room that could arguably (and WAS ACTUALLY) a closet this year. I'm also 90% sure I will have no aide.

    :celebrate:

    I've resigned to the fact that they're just going to have to be Busy while I pull small groups or confer with individuals. I'm going to try to make their independent work as rigorous as possible, but honestly....if they stay on task and don't kill each other, I'll be fine. :whistle:
     
  15. IdahoSpEdTeach

    IdahoSpEdTeach Rookie

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    Jul 21, 2014

    Be at peace.... :)

    All teachers give busy work. It's the only way you are going to keep your sanity.

    Some "busy work" can be called "sensory diet" - things like tactile stimulation with play dough or rice, etc.

    It's all in how you spin it.

    Good luck
     
  16. sindey

    sindey New Member

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    Jul 27, 2014

    I am having the same issue with being new to a moderate classroom and having only one paraprofessional. I can’t seem to see past the grade levels because of the state testing and knowing what to teach for that many grade levels ( we have no curriculum). I am overwhelmed by not knowing where to start. In our state a classroom is only allowed to have up to 10 students.
     

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