Please help me get organized.

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by Jerseygirlteach, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Sep 14, 2012

    I'm teaching self-contained for the first time. It is a class of 12 4th grade students, but they range in ability levels from mid-K to mid-2nd grade for reading and math. I am supposed to be differentiating and teaching each of them on their level. So, I've come up with 3 groups for them for reading and math - low, medium, and high (relatively speaking). Now comes the hard part. How do I teach 3 different groups at once - especially since they would all be working on different material/concepts? I have a full time aid, but I don't know that I can expect her to teach a group, can I? I figure her job is to help out, not to teach a group of kids a concept. Even if I could have her teach a group, that would leave one group with no one (if there are 3 groups). I thought of having each group start with some sort of independent activity while I go around to each group and work with them for a bit. The problem is I can't see most of them working independently. I have ADHD kids and others who lack impulse control. They find it very difficult to work without direct instruction, and will get out of their seats to seek my help, no matter how frequently we discuss trying to solve problems on your own.

    On top of this, I'm supposed to start DRA testing next week and when I finish DRA testing all my students, I then start DIBELS. :confused: That would mean I need to pull one child at a time to work with and leave my aide with the rest of the group. So now I'll have an aide working with 11 kids in 3 different reading and math groups for the next couple of weeks? How is this possible? :eek:hmy: The alternative would be to keep them all together and just have them work on the same material, but some of them are going to find it either very easy or very hard.

    Help! I don't know how to structure this so it works. :thanks:
     
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  3. Mellz Bellz

    Mellz Bellz Comrade

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    Sep 14, 2012

    When I taught self-contained I'd have one group for direct instruction. I'd give my TA a group to work with on a game or manipulative material (nothing that required her to actually really teach, just oversee). Finally my third group was independent computers which was the only thing that kept them all quiet and engaged. I would try to rotate every 20-30 minutes. It wasn't perfect, but with 9 boys ranging from K-5th grade it was the best solution I could think of.
     
  4. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Sep 15, 2012

    I have 11 kids and plan to do something similar to the above. I have never met a single kid who was not motivated by computers, so I made sure to get 7 of them plus my iPad. Worst case scenario-8 of them are busy while I work with 3 kids. :lol: Best case scenario-Aide does a practice game/monitors a group while some are on computers and some are with me.

    CAFE provides a great structure for conferencing and determining if any of your kids have similar weaknesses/can be grouped together.
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Sep 15, 2012

    Definitely look into the daily 5 (It is the independent reading station part to CAFE). You need to teach your students how to work independently and build their stamina. This can take six weeks to really get moving...so it might be awhile before you get to real instruction but the time is well spent if done right.

    Another option might be to see if there are any specialists available to work with a group or check with the library. Maybe some students can have a library read aloud while you and the aid work with a small group.

    You could also plan an independent craft station.
     
  6. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Sep 17, 2012

    Thank you for the feedback! By the way, I've purchased the Daily Five book. Now I just have to make the time to read it! :) Over the weekend, I researched a lot of relevant literacy centers that students can function with somewhat independently. Now, I'm just going to have to devote the time to pulling them together. I will have them on computers or doing silent reading at times too.

    Follow up question, though. Assigning homework? I want to hand out a weekly homework sheet since most of them struggle with copying assignments off the board. However, the different groups will have different homework assignments. So one student might be in math group A and reading group B while another student is in math group c, and reading group A - for example. Basically, they all have different homework combos. This would mean I'm going to have to create 12 different homework assignment sheets each week. Ugh. Anyone have any more practical ideas? That could take a LONG TIME. :(
     
  7. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Sep 18, 2012

    No.

    I hate homework. In SPED it's especially difficult. I'm just going to suck it up and save everything I make so that I can hopefully use it again next year. It's totally a PITA.
     
  8. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Sep 18, 2012

    Can you do more generic homework? For example, each group has a list of spelling words, and each night they have a spelling activity?

    Additionally, could you create some "task bags" that the kids could use and practice with at home (same as file folder games) - they could be activities that are relevant to what they are learning in class?

    Read for 20 minutes. Write in a journal. Those types of assignments can actually be pretty meaningful and could be generic to meet the needs of each student...

    Re: Instructional time, how to set the classroom up, get to every kid, etc.

    I would do a modified version of TEACCH work stations. Set up some work bins/folders that the kids can do independently and teach them how to do them by following a schedule. You make a little velcro schedule of numbers or colors and they match the piece to the activity they have to do. Sounds crazy but it's the best thing you'll ever do for your classroom. Google, "TEACCH Independent Work Schedule" and you should see some good ideas on how to set it up. If the kids are high enough to do "paper/pencil" tasks versus tangible tasks (puzzles, sorting, etc.) - you can use folders (folder 1, folder 2, folder 3, etc.) and they have to "Complete their schedule" when they're at their workstations. This would allow you to work with one group, have the para with another group, and one group finishing work stations.

    It basically means the class runs itself. It takes time to get stations set up and running (with relevant materials) but in the long run it is so worth it. I would always have my class do workstations during IEP meetings or other times I could not be in the room. It was:
    teaching them to be independent
    reviewing relevant skills
    able to be run by a para or substitute teacher
    Yes!

    Here's a link to an old thread with some work station ideas:
    http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=104379&page=2

    With that many kids, you'd have to be creative...

    Here's an example of a "work schedule" matching picture cards to task boxes...
    [​IMG]

    Hope this helps!
     

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