Can I do this?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by 16lp, Oct 19, 2014.

  1. 16lp

    16lp Rookie

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    Oct 19, 2014

    Ok, quick background: I am a first year sped teacher, not credentialed (won't be until winter of next year), basically an intern with full autonomy in my classroom. My only other experience in education is as a sub for the prior year and a half (was in a completely different job for the previous 20 years). Letting you all know this so I don't sound ignorant regarding acronyms, policies, procedures, etc.

    So here I am in the classroom with no knowledge of curriculum, aside from what I find by snooping and looking in the library, storage rooms etc. Immediately I see that the children with deficits need specific types of curriculums to learn. Don't have but one or two from what I've scavenged. Example: student clearly possesses some sort of dyscalculia and nothing I have works. So I have resorted to using manipulatives, songs (remember schoolhouse rock?!) anything I can think of to make it work. I am clearly not using "core materials" to reach goals. How finicky are they on that? I have also found great success with making plays and creating sets, costumes, etc. Clearly not "core"material. But the kids seem to learn better when we're having fun as opposed to sitting and working. Then, the catch-22, I don't want them to get used to having fun because they'll never want to leave, right? Or they might exhibit problems in the future when the y find out life isn't really about having fun....

    So basically, I have found with engaging fun materials and lessons we learn, but how do I put that in my data? lots of questions and of course, feeling like I require some sort of validation. I don't know if I doing the right thing. Doesn't feel like I'm preparing them for a "regular" classroom at all.

    PS. If it wasn't for reading these threads and realizing that I'm not alone, I might have made the decision to change my credential!
     
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  3. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    Oct 19, 2014

    We do what we can to engage our students in the learning process and help them master skills. In Sped (and regular) we use hands on activities and other modes for teaching. That doesn't mean that students only do those types activities but it is one option for learning. Think about all of the different learning styles we have in our classrooms. Sped is where we can truly get creative with the curriculum - especially when the regular curriculum can be modified for a particular student. You clearly are doing that with your class.
    Your concerns are valid because we are still accountable for what we teach and whether our students are learning.
    Are you still covering the standards and can your students read, write, and solve math problems? That is what you need to think about. As long as you are on the right path and they are where they should be then it is all good.
     
  4. 16lp

    16lp Rookie

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    Oct 19, 2014

    Thanks LisaLisa!
     
  5. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Oct 19, 2014

    What kind of setting are you working in? I saw your post about the ED student... is it an ED unit? In my experience, I wouldn't be able to do the things you're describing in a mild/resource setting because the academic expectations are too high. However, I think the activities you mentioned would be considered appropriate for a self-contained (severe needs) setting or an ED/behavior setting. In my district, the students in those settings have such severe needs that I'm sure anything you could do to get them working and engaged would be appreciated, even if it's not perfectly aligned with the core curriculum.
     
  6. 16lp

    16lp Rookie

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    Oct 19, 2014

    It is SDC/rsp combined mild/moderate with one solidly moderate child but I wouldn't know how to convey that to my admin--I literally fell into this job and it's been a fun, but harrowing trial by fire. We work rotating between 5 groups (three academic and one computer and one library, very child centered and I give them a lot of responsibility)--i have 3 paras, two in the morning, one in the afternoon.
    It really is a dream compared to some things I've heard, but this class used to be 2 classes--the sdc and rep were split. I can see why the teacher last year had a tough time. It is HARD work and I only have about 23 kids on my caseload. That being said, I'm wondering what sort of other motivational activities can I use to kept them going when I can see the inevitable meltdowns? The kids work hard from 8:30 am to 11:30.
     
  7. 16lp

    16lp Rookie

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    Oct 19, 2014

    Sorry, my post feels like it's all over the place. Kind of like my brain these last 3 months!!!
     

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