Hi, I haven't posted for a while.... I am getting my student's schedules together, and therefore have to do my 5 aides schedules, and of course mine. I have 9 students with severe disabilties (elementary), 6 are nonverbal and use some sort of communication device. Oh yeah, this is my first year teaching. While most of my student's go out to their regular classrooms for various classes, I will still be teaching a reading, language, and math class. However, with the assortment of kids, I have had to divide the 9 kids into 3 groups. Which means my entire day will be spent teaching 3 different language, reading, and math lessons. In addition, the kids who are not in the language, reading, etc. group that is going on at that time will still be in my room, just with 1-2 aides. I feel terrible because I will not be able to be teaching ALL of my kids ALL day. So, my question is..... what can I have my aides do with the students who are not in the group that I am currently teaching. Let's be honest here, I am not going to have time or energy to develop a whole lesson plan for my aides for every single time period I am teaching a group of kids. However, I don't want the kids wandering aimlessly and doing things that are not educationally meaningfull. I feel like I am not really even the teacher, I will just be the person that sits in the corner all day that kids revolve out of. My aides will have to be responsible for, almost an entire day's worth of teaching/caring for the students. Sorry so long. Any suggestions?

Wow, it sounds as though are really frustrated with the type of class set up you have. Mine is similar, though not as extreme, but my kids (6) will be coming in and out though i still responsible for academics. I do reading and math groups (2 groups of 3), and will be having an aide lead the group I am not working with, both will be doing similar activites just adapted to their level so it really is just one lesson plan. I will alternate which group I work with so i can work with each student. Aslo my kids are K-4 and soem are verbal, some non, some have AU, some MR some other things as well. I also have to consider all the therapies and balancing time. YES you are the teacher, and NO you willnot be in a corner watching the revovling door, you'll be too busy to notice. Right now just relax, breathe, and think of all the wonderful things you will be able to accomplish working with small groups instead of 9 at once. the think of haw gen ed have to work with 25+ at once!!!!

You will also find that you don't necessarily have to ONLY have groups with their ages. I teach in a non-categorical classroom and have students of varying levels - my students are moderate to severe but we do follow an academic curriculum according to Texas state standards. For example, this year I had two students on a middle first grade level, two students on a middle second grade level, and one student on a K level. I placed them all in the same group for our reading lesson - but of course we worked on different things. The kiddo on the K level could barely even read sight words - but that's exactly what we were working on. So, I would read through the story or passage or whatever, and just stop on the words we were trying to get him to recognize (it, the, was, by, etc). Then the next student would be able to read on their own with minimum assistance, and so on. I had reading workbooks for them, and after we worked on a group reading session - they would work in their workbooks that were all on different levels. So, I guess I would say open your mind to teaching "multi level" lessons, and just structure the lesson so that it can be accommodating for students of different levels. This way, they can all receive instruction with you - therefore keeping them all occupied -- and then be working on different things independently after they have their group instruction. Your situation might be different with kiddos with severe disabilities, but at least think about teaching lessons that can account for many different levels. Therefore the kids get more instruction from you, more time with you, and less down time.

Thanks for the advice. Maybe I just have typical first year jitters. Hopefully all the wrinkles will get ironed out with time. Does anyone have any ideas of what I can do for "math" with severe kids, keep in mind most of them are nonverbal. I am going to try to teach them touch points, is anyone familiar with this? I am also stressed out about the reading curriculum. Believe it or not, throughout my entire college career, and student teaching experiences I never dealt with any standardized curriculum. The curriculum is reading mastery for the "higher" level students and Meville to Weville for the "lower" level students? Has anyone used either of these and are they spelled out pretty clearly as far as exactly how to use them? Thanks again, I appreciate any knowledge from experienced teachers!

I use reading mastery with my students and it is completely scripted, which will help you. If your district offers SRA training, try to take it. I have not used Meville to Weville. Can you tell me something about it? I teach 6 grade levels and my children's abilities range from developmentally 18 mos to 5th grade. It's always a challenge finding academic work on all their levels. Luckily, I have the most WONDERFUL para! She and I split up all learning groups and I don't even have to tell her what to do.

As far as math goes, Touch Math and lots of manipulatives are great. they can solve problems, or explore number concepts and show you their knowledge through their actions, then if they write you can have them transcribe the equation they have done w/ the manipulatives, if they can't write, but understand the concepts try using magnetic #'s to let them "write" the problem. Hope that helps.

I agree with starting with what you need to teach and then diffrentiating the lesson based on the students you have. We do have small groups for reading. The teacher takes a group, the aide takes a group (me), the reading specialist takes a group and one group is independent practice. We rotate every 15 minutes. Otherwise every lesson we have we do a group lesson, hands on activity (if we can) and then have them seat at their tables. We might modify worksheets or type of work. The teacher and I walk around and see if we need to reteach some more or help a student with a problem. Occassionally there will be a lesson that just overwhelms a student. If I see this, I will pull this student back and do a more basic lesson or teach in a way that the student understands. Our students have a wide range of reading/writing delays, some background content is missing and may have some behavior issues but otherwise tend to be okay. They aren't severe by the definition that I see a lot of posts show. We also might give more challeging work to one child and reteach work to another. We try to pick activities that will reach all the students at some point. My job, as an aide, is to see the students stay on task so the group functions for the teacher and to make sure no child is lagging behind and help them if they are.

Are you doing any kind of independent "work station" tasks with your kids? That's the kind of thing that's WONDERFUL for time when you need/want the kids to be independently practicing tasks... something as simple as working on puzzles or sorting tasks, to worksheets or reading passages, all depending on the needs of your students. Once you've taught the skill, your paras should easily be able to monitor them working independently and assist them as necessary. Did that make any sense? I'm tired

I would create some file folder games, and work tasks as was suggested before. This is also a good time for fine motor time. What about inclusion time? It's important for our students to get time with non-disabled and peers, and maybe the assistants can go with them to gen ed classes? If you can get a scripted program, then your assitants can help too. And you don't have to schedule yourself to teach every reading and math lesson. It's ok for you to teach the group 3 times a week, and have lessons ready for the other two days. This way you don't get burnt out, and you can still teach fine motor and help with work tasks. Perhaps you can have a rotating calendar group led by an assistant everyday too. I understand about the first year jitters, I have them too!

Thanks for the responses. I have 9 kids spread out through K, 1, 2, 4, and 5 grades. Yes, some of them do go out for more "hands on" classes with their gen.ed. classes. However, they are constantly in and out of my room- I'm sure everyone knows how that goes. I have set up specified "goal" time in each students schedule so I will have my aides work on IEP goals with students while I am teaching the different groups. I also have a "reading corner" (although almost all are non-readers, but I figure just being exposed to books and looking through them is still a good experience), a fine motor area, and a music center. I will have to see how the first few days go as far as scheduling and take it from there. Thanks for all the suggestions!