Calling all elem resource teachers!

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by AZSpedtchr, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. AZSpedtchr

    AZSpedtchr Rookie

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    Feb 16, 2011

    :thanks:I am a 10+ year sped veteran, in my 6th year as a resource teacher. I am at a new school this year, and all of a sudden the principal is calling into question how I run the classroom (which I share with another teacher). I work with pull out elementary-aged groups, in 1/2 hour slots. Some kids come for only 1/2 hour, some for an hour, and some for 1 1/2 hours. In general, I give the students a 5-10 min break about every 30-45 mins, depending on the lesson/grouping/need for a break. I was given $100 for the year as my budget, which I used to buy basics that I was not given.....pencils, etc. The rest ($25) I am hoarding since I am not given separate monies for IEP paperwork. So I don't have a lot of supplies. During the 5-10 min break, I allow the kids to use the computer, which they have to earn, and since it's highly motivating, it works well! Is this wrong? What do you all do during a break period? Any suggestions?:thanks:
     
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  3. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Feb 16, 2011

    What specifically did your principal have a problem with? The fact that students were given breaks?

    I'm sort of in the same situation as you (although thankfully I have my own room!) but I don't schedule the kids for back to back lessons. For example, if a student sees me for reading and math every day, they might come to reading from 8:30-9:00 and then math from 1:00-1:30. That way I don't have to worry about giving breaks or anything but I know the kids won't be too stressed out. I've spent a lot of time in regular ed. too, and I'm not saying this is what you're doing but I often got upset when I felt my kids who were on IEP's were going to the sped teacher's room and "wasting time". If there was nothing else for the kids to do, I wanted them back with me! Last year I was teaching 3rd grade and our sped teacher would take the kids for 45 minutes, and I knew that the last 15 minutes were "game time" where the students were not focused on instruction at all. I had a major problem with my students missing my math lesson for example, to play games in the sped room. When I got my job this year, the kids would tell me that last year if they were good they got to play a board game at the end of their lessons. I have major issues with that- I'm not going to keep kids from instructional time in their regular ed. classes to play a board game. Every second they're spending with me is spent on instruction, and because I know they're missing stuff in their regular classes to be with me I feel like it always has to be something really important. Even an extra 10 minutes of missed instruction makes a big difference I think, especially since the gen. ed. teachers dont have time to reteach what the kids with me missed. Again, I'm not sure this is what you're doing- but just something to think about!
     
  4. AZSpedtchr

    AZSpedtchr Rookie

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    Feb 17, 2011

    Oh yeah, when I was f/t I would try not to schedule the kids back to back for their groups. But I only teach 1/2 days and so I am really pushed for time with the kids and have to see them for up to an hour and a half straight. That is a really long time for 6 and 7 year olds and they need some down time. When I see kids for 1/2 hour, they do NOT get a break. I feel pretty strongly that if I see them for an hour or more, they work better if they get a small break. I totally agree with you that time they spend in resource is precious, but from past experience, they don't work as well if they do not get a break. In the gen ed room, there are some natural breaks, like specials, bathroom breaks, transition time, whatever......so how long do you see kids at a time? Do you teach for a straight 3 hours, lunch, then straight 3 hours again?
     
  5. AZSpedtchr

    AZSpedtchr Rookie

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    Feb 17, 2011

    And, yes, I think the principal had a problem with the fact that the kids were given breaks.
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Feb 17, 2011

    Yes I do teach back to back all day, but it's not the same kids for all that time. The longest period of time I see kids is my mixed 4th/5th grade reading group which is 40 minutes long. My other students see me in 20 or 30 minute intervals, but every interval is a different group of students so no student sees me in back to back time slots. So they might see me for 30 minutes for reading and then see me for 20 minutes for math a few hours later.

    It sounds like you don't have much control over your schedule though. Maybe you could try just a 1 minute "stretch" or "wiggle" breaks instead? Or have students do something highly educational as a "break". That way you could justify to your principal that they are still getting instructional time. With my young kids, I play this game where I write numbers all over the marker board and then call out adding or subtracting problems and they run up to the board to slap the right number. They're still practicing the skills but they're moving around and they don't feel like they're working. You can do that with vocabulary or other things to. Or you could even have them take a planned bathroom break halfway through the lesson. They get a "break" for a few minutes but no one will perceive it as taking away from instructional time.
     
  7. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Feb 18, 2011

    I love the educational breaks or stretch and wiggle breaks. These would be more educational than games or computer. Now, you could give them a computer break---something educational on the computer.
     
  8. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Feb 20, 2011

    One thought: do any of their IEPs include frequent breaks as an accommodation? If so then I would counter with that information as well as a plan to limit the number of breaks.

    While on computers, what exactly are they doing? If you put them on educational software, I'd also say something about that. If they're just playing random games or online, then I'd have a plan to have them using the computer to enhance their education but be a break from sit down paper/pencil tasks.
     

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