Question about Middle School self-contained classes

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by teachersk, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Messages:
    1,872
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 5, 2009

    For those of you who teach in Middle School (or High School) self-contained classes:

    I am wondering how it works. Do you just work "through" the bell? Or do you try to tailor your schedules around the bell schedule (with "periods" etc) ?

    I have just accepted a position with a middle school to begin an autism program. I will have five students (fifth and sixth grade) in a self-contained middle school classroom. I've always taught elementary school, although I am excited about this new job.

    I know that they will have a few classes (electives) outside of the classroom, and that I will have to plan for them in the daily schedule. I am hoping that they will at least be placed in the same classes with 2 or 3 at a time (so I don't have one kid leaving 1st period, one kid leaving 2nd period, etc.) How does it work for you? I will have one paraprofessional assigned to the classroom, and one 1:1 paraprofessional assigned to a specific student, so essentially its 1:1 for that student, then 2:4 for the other four students.

    Do you guys get a planning period? Lunch period without the students? I'm just so curious how it all works out. The school is 6th through 8th, but because the elementary school has PK, K-2, and 3-4 programs, these 5th graders are the first to age out of those autism programs and they will start the autism program at the middle school beginning in 5th grade. So, essentially, the students will all be in the "same grade" (6th) -- because the 5ths will go with the 6ths.

    Just trying to figure out a few logistics in my head.

    Any ideas/info welcome!

    Thanks!
     
  2.  
  3. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,189
    Likes Received:
    2

    Jul 5, 2009

    Hiya sk. Are you guys on the block period or the 6-period day?

    We're on the block, meaning we have four 80 minute periods and gen edders switch classes between A day and B day. None of that pertains to the self-contained classrooms though. I worked right through the bell (it was hard to remember to take attendence!) and my planning period was 3rd block. So we would have breakfast, calendar, language arts work stations, math work stations, group word work - and then at 11AM, the whole class would go to music, then lunch, followed by recess (while I had my lunch, planning, and prep). Then they'd return at 12:45 and we would either have social studies, science, social skills, story time, etc.

    But you can do it any way you want to. If you want to use the bell as your classroom transition time, that would work too. I used a timer.
     
  4. spedtchr

    spedtchr Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 5, 2009

    I've taught at two schools so far, high school and middle school. At the high school, yes I taught through the bell. My students were lower functioning so they did not go to classes with the rest of the school. We were able to go out around the building, but chose to do that when the hallways weren't crowded (there was a huge overcrowding issue there). I did not have a planning period at this school, but I did have a lunch period that I ate with other teachers.

    At the middle school, my students did go out to other classes, so I did teach on the bell schedule. They were higher functioning, so the class schedule worked out to have different subjects for those time periods. I had a very short planning period that year, but I had to eat lunch with my class.

    Next year I will be back in high school. I've been told that I have a planning period. My students will go to PE during one regular period, but I think in the mornings I will teach through the bell... They don't really have the attention span to be on the same task for that length of time.

    I'm sure you will figure it out! I think that the scheduling is usually the most stressful part for me at the beginning of the year. But once you get that down, things get better :)
     
  5. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Messages:
    1,872
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 5, 2009

    Wow, so all of your kids were in the same music class? I think that would be ideal. I wonder if that's how it works for everyone? The only issue with using the bell as a transition is that it might not match up to my timing. We have a seven period day with a half hour period of Study Hall at the end of the day. Like spedtchr mentioned, I don't think the kids will have the attention span to remain on a subject for that long.

    Would both of you mind writing what your schedule looked like? From start to finish....

    I'm so used to "Circle Time" and "Listening Centers" etc. I am going to have to really think about what to do with my new kiddos!

    I've been told that four of the five are "high functioning" and verbal. They are working at a 1st to 3rd grade academic level.

    There is also one student who is considered "low functioning" (I really do hate the Low and High functioning labels.. but I guess people still use them!) -- this student recently moved from another country and has had no formal schooling experience. She is functioning on a 1-2 year old level. She does have a 1:1 assistant. I am hoping that we can include her in many of our activities and get her on the right track.

    So, that's a fun mix!
     
  6. spedtchr

    spedtchr Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 5, 2009

    My high school class looked like this:

    7:00-7:15 Breakfast
    7:15-7:30 Brushing teeth
    7:30-7:50 Morning talk
    7:50-9:00 Table group work rotation (money skills or sight words) and individual work (personal information, math w/ calculators, some basic reading)
    9:00-9:15 Break/snack
    9:15-9:30 Getting ready to leave building
    9:30-11:00 Community Based Instruction (every day, amazing)
    11:00-12:00 Lunch/brush teeth/free time
    12:00-12:30 Adapted PE
    12:30-2:00 Leisure activities (we'd go to the library, clean, play games, socialize, run errands through the building, etc)



    I kind of grouped my students and rotated them through group activities. I started, and then I had my assistants take over one group so I could do two groups at once. It all just depended on what we did for the day.

    I'm going to miss my CBI though, because that took up a big chunk of my day. I was spoiled, and I know it. haha. :)
     
  7. iheartsped

    iheartsped Rookie

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 5, 2009

    I'm self-contained but we must use the same minutes as the other classes. For example, if gen ed has 60 min. of english, then my students must have the same. It is written this way on their IEPs.

    I do have flexibility in my approach and able to do a lot of cross curriculum stuff as I'm also expected to teach social and transitional skills as well.
     
  8. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,189
    Likes Received:
    2

    Jul 6, 2009

    We're on the block schedule so there's a block everyday where my kids are supposed to be somewhere else so I can eat lunch, have prep, and meet with my planning group. Last year I had two paras and 10 kids (in May I had three paras and 11 kids) but the paras would take the kids to breakfast, to electives, to lunch, etc.

    My gen ed school didn't really know what to do with my special kids though, so my kids missed out on electives. It was ridiculous. The electives teachers said they weren't "trained" to teach my kids. So the PE teacher would put some music on, and throw some balls out on the floor and it was unstructured free play. Same thing in music. She would put a movie on for them or play some music and meanwhile she and my paras would stand in the corner and chat. :rolleyes: So yeah, they all went to "music" together. Ugh, sorry, had to vent there for a sec.

    I too had several different groups of conginitve abilities and the way I handled it was that for lang arts and math I separated them into four color-coded groups from high to low. This allowed me to assign centers which I named the more age appropriate "work stations." Work stations were tons of hands-on activities for the kids that were also color coded so they knew which ones they could grab if given a choice.

    I also did whole group instruction though for social studies and science - - something that I may change this year based on my kid's abilities. My lower four kids were totally lost during these activities and didn't gain anything. If that happened again, I would take those four kids and have a para take them aside and work on hygiene and/or self help; brushing teeth, putting on deoderant, tying shoes, etc. You can't take anything for granted with these kids. Last year a teacher came to my room and said one of my kids needed help in the bathroom asap. Turns out he was sitting in the urinal. I guess nobody every told him what they were or how to use them! :(

    Anyway, enough rambling. Here's the schedule that I used last year and this year I'll be using it again with a few minor changes:

    7:45-8:30 - Breakfast/Cleaning the cafeteria
    8:30-9AM - Calendar
    9am-10AM- Language Arts Work Stations (3 20-min stations)
    10-10:30- Math Work Stations (2 15-min stations)
    10:30-11 - Word Work/Bathrooming
    11-11:20 - PE, Health, or Music
    11:30-12 - Lunch
    12-12:45 - Recess
    12:45-1:30 Bathrooming and Social Studies/Science/Social Skills
    1:30-1:45 - Story and comprehension
    1:45-2:15 - Games/Independent Reading/Puzzles/Free Time - something supervised by my paras so I can write in the parent/teacher notebooks
    2:20 - Buses home

    One of the kids workstations was "round table with Zoom" so that I could do individual testing or instruction. I have pics of my work stations if you're interested. Let me know.
     
  9. angelfaces

    angelfaces Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2010
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 1, 2010

    I would love to see some pictures of your work stations if you still have them available.
     
  10. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Messages:
    1,872
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 1, 2010

    It is so funny to see this post resurrected. This is funny to read now that I have my full routine and classroom schedule worked out for my classroom. This feels like light years ago that i wrote this--- how fun.


    There's another post somewhere with pictures of my workstations-- I will see if I can find it...

    I'm at my parents house till Wednesday, but when i return home I could post some pics if i don't find that old post.
     
  11. carb

    carb Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 10, 2010

    self-contained classroom

    I am also a first year teacher in a multi-handicap classroom. I am struggling with the same issues. I feel overwhelmed at this point! I have 6, 7, and 8th grade students who go to specials at various points in the day. My principal told me that he wanted my classroom to be a like a revolving door with students coming and going. The problem is that I have no clue how to teach particular subjects when I have students out of the room all of the time. The prior teacher had students complete a daily check list. Students were required to complete certain tasks each day before they left school. I feel that if I adopt this approach I will never receive the opportunity to provide direct instrction. Please help!
     
  12. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,189
    Likes Received:
    2

    Aug 10, 2010

    Here's a pic of my work stations:

    [​IMG]

    Just dug 'em out of the boxes today! The top shelf has "work jobs" (sorting, matching, folding, setting table, etc.), and then the rest of the shelf is divided into two sections: Language Arts (left, blue), and Math (right, green). For Lang arts there's everything from Alphasoup game to letter/sound dominos. For Math, I have lots of counting, matching, and memory activities.

    The binders are color-coded depending on difficulty:
    blue = preschool
    green = K
    yellow = 1st
    red = 2nd

    Some kids will be assigned to different colors. For example I had a student last year that was yellow for lang arts but red for math.


    carb - - it is tricky. However, you'll get to know your student's schedules after a couple weeks and can plan accordingly. Just takes some getting used to. I always hated it when the SLT would come and get one of my kids RIGHT when we started cooking.... grr. But it happens.

    sk - - I know right! I saw that topic title and thought to myself, "Wait a minute.... she should know that by now." Then I saw the date. lol I actually thought my replies were funny too! I've got another year under my belt now! :D
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. waterfall,
  2. vickilyn
Total: 266 (members: 3, guests: 242, robots: 21)
test