Do you make up your own program?

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by Jerseygirlteach, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Oct 7, 2012

    I can't hide my frustration with my new district. They have given me virtually NOTHING to teach with. My principal told me to teach basically whatever I think is right for my students (based on the standards of course). Yet, someone from the sped dept. told me that I should be modifying the district programs. :confused::confused::confused: This is how it's working out:

    Math:

    My school uses Everyday Math. Even when I go down to the second grade level, my kids would be completely lost if I taught the program as is. So I heavily modify it for some and do something completely different for others.

    Writing:

    My school uses writer's workshop. This is not working at all for my students. Some of them sit there blank no matter what modifications I put in place. They can't seem to form the abstract thought required to even think of an event to write about no matter how much time I spend breaking it down and modeling. I give them the option of drawing pictures rather than using words, but many can't think of an idea to draw about at all.

    Reading:

    We use guided reading. I designed these centers and put together file folder games, and use online programs as I work with small groups. It is okay, but their levels are so diverse - everywhere from beginning kindergarten to mid-second grade and everything in between - it's challenging. Plus, my kids have a lot of trouble working in independent groups so my para gets overwhelmed while I work at the reading table with one group at a time.

    My principal told me on day one to do what I think is best for my students. I've spent soooo much money on resources it's not even funny. Also, it's not easy to design my own programs for every subject. However, it's easier than trying to make the existing programs work for my kids.

    So, I'm curious. Is there a set, mandated program for your special education students that you're following or did you pretty much make it up yourself based on standards?
     
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  3. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Oct 7, 2012

    My school doesn't give us anything either. I either make up materials myself or find them free online. We do get money to buy things from the teacher store but I have not found too much for my class since they are extremely low functioning students.
     
  4. Nitch

    Nitch Rookie

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    Oct 7, 2012

    Guess I'm lucky. I was given a box of Saxon math stuff and a reading box for my kids. I was very thankful.
     
  5. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Oct 7, 2012

    I am given the grade-level ELA textbooks and teacher's guides. I also have access to grade-level supplemental texts which are somewhat more accessible to my students. I wish our sped department had money to buy ELA textbooks geared toward struggling readers. Some I've seen look like they would really be helpful to my students.
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Oct 7, 2012

    Our special education teachers are given grade level materials (many of them co-teach). We also have some intervention materials that they are given to use in their classrooms. However, they do not have to use the materials provided if they don't fit the needs of their students.
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Oct 7, 2012

    When I taught sped I did make up my own program for everything. My admin told me to teach to their IEP goals only. For some kids that I realized were capable of more, I purposely wrote their IEP goals to be extremely broad so that I could work on a lot of skills with them. We had a "book room" with leveled DRA books, so I used those for reading. For math, I found a lot of stuff online or made it. I found writing to be fairly easy to do with no resources. A few weeks into my first year the sped director sent me on orton gillingham training. It did work for a couple of my students, all the resources are there, and it's all set up so there is no planning involved...but I hated using the program. That's the flip side, if you have a job in sped where you're not tied to following a scripted intervention to the letter, I'd be thankful. I got SO bored with doing orton gillingham and I only did it for 2 reading groups a day.

    Now that I'm in regular ed, I was excited to actually have real curriculums and resources. However, my admin is basically not letting us use them ("too boring") so I'm right back to making everything up.
     
  8. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    Oct 20, 2012

    Look online. There is a world of free material either in the form of worksheets or activity/lesson plans.
    You can also call your district or county office of education and find out what they do with unused textbooks. Think in terms of extras, or sample materials.
    You might talk with the school librarian. Sometimes alternative and supporting materials are stored there gathering dust. You can use alternative materials with your students depending on the wording in the IEP's and your district's guidelines. It is just a matter of what the student needs in order to reach their goals and be successful.
     
  9. deefreddy

    deefreddy Companion

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    Oct 20, 2012

    I wasn't given anything to use in my district either. There were materials in the classroom that I was assigned to that were left by the previous teacher, but most of it was curriculum that requires a 3rd to 5th grade reading level, and that is much too high for the HS students I am teaching now. I make everything, and I base most of what I teach off of the California State Alternate Performance standards for English, Math, and Science, and I add in lessons for adaptive, social, life, and community skills. After 4 years in the same classroom, I finally have built up a library of materials so that I don't have to spend 1-2 hrs per night preparing for the next day!
     
  10. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

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    Oct 21, 2012

    Nope. Nothing here either. We teach the children who are left behind. Welcome to this world. You must be creative and use what you do have or can make cheaply. Good luck.
     
  11. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    Oct 27, 2012

    I have had to get all of my own materials. If I am supposed to be providing "specially designed instruction" for students who are not making progress in the general education curriculum, how can I help them using only general education curriculum? If I were not a resource teacher and had them all day, maybe it could work with modifications, but Everyday Math on 30 minutes 2-3 times a week? I use Singapore Math and Read it, Draw it, Solve it. If a student is closer to grade level, we also do selected Everyday Math Math boxes together.

    I have found that kids who are having extreme difficulties learning to read do not thrive in a Readers' Workshop - only environment. They need direct phonics instruction and/or fluency interventions. I use Explode the Code, Linguistic Remedies, Read Naturally, and Rewards. And yes, I have had to get it all myself and pay for any related trainings myself.

    Writers' workshop works better with my students, they just need a lot more modeling and conferring. I use Dragon Naturally Speaking, CoWriter, and AlphaSmarts to help my kids compose when they have a lot of trouble with handwriting and/or spelling.

    I have purchased all of my own Social Skills curriculum as well - Alert, Superflex, Think Good, Feel Good, and "What to do When you _____ too Much" (grumble, worry, etc.) therapy intervention books. Also did all of my own research and purchasing of sensory interventions - large part of my program.

    I have been doing this for 10 years, and it has taken me this long to slowly build up enough intervention curriculum to really serve my kids without bankrupting myself. I am so frustrated that districts do not do the research, find the best intervention curriculum, make recommendations to teachers (esp. newer ones), and support the curriculum with training. They just send us to gen.ed. trainings and tell us to be creative. But don't screw up and get us sued.
     
  12. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    Oct 27, 2012

    Isn't it a good thing, to have the freedom to tailor it your own way? Unless you are a new teacher (to which I can see having something as a guide)... I mean, isn't that what teachers want? The freedom to teach how they see fit.
     
  13. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

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    Oct 27, 2012

    Yes, but it would be nice to have materials like the other teachers.
     
  14. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Oct 28, 2012

    Schools still use AlphaSmarts? I haven't seen one since I was in eighth grade (2003-2004 school year)

    Horrible piece of technology.
     
  15. ciounoi

    ciounoi Cohort

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    Oct 28, 2012

    When I taught at the detention center, I had a bunch of science textbooks (not enough for one for each student), some printer paper, pencils, and a Smartboard that had to be hooked up every time we used it. In middle school ES, I had a bunch of textbooks from different subjects (again, not enough for one for each student), an SRA curriculum (not enough), and a laptop cart. I had to make up everything to teach or rely on other sources... internet, books, etc.

    I think, however, the general lack of supplies and curriculum is an emotional support thing, at least in my area. I've been in a number of other ES classrooms and none of them really have much in there. I always assumed it was because the focus for most ES classes is almost exclusively behavioral.
     
  16. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Oct 28, 2012

    I don't have a curriculum and have designed everything. I don't feel like you can really have a curriculum for sped because every group of kids is different.

    Might I suggest CAFE for Reading? It is more a structure of how to do things and fits the small group/conferencing needs of SPED well. The idea is that reading strategies fit under the umbrellas of comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and expanding vocabulary. Everyone gets to work on their weaknesses at their level. The book is a cheap and easy read.

    Don't ask me about Science, Social Studies, Writing, or Math. :lol: That's not as.....together. For Science we just keep doing Scientific Method experiments over and over. Social Studies I have adapted the regular textbook and supplemented with hands-on activities. Writing is a journal prompt each day that they share out in Morning Meeting. I also do 30 minutes of direct instruction and shared writing but I don't feel like that's effective. I'm going to figure out that **** show once I get Math together. Math I follow the same structure as Daily 5 for Literacy...but as you can see by my posts in this forum I am not entirely sure of what content I should be teaching or for how long I should be teaching it.

    I can see my kids growing and there is data to prove it, so for right now I just reflect each weekend and try to focus on one thing at a time. Pick one subject and go from there. It's too much otherwise!
     

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