trying to make this work, especially being new and not knowing the standards really well to plan. I have 7 students (4 third graders, 3 second graders). I have one aide. My aide told me last year she taught the K students, while the teacher taught the 1st graders (they had 4 students). I have started that way, but it is not working out. First, I have no relationship with the 2nd graders, she is working with them on all subjects, while I have the 3rd graders. When I need her for behavioral issues, she cannot just jump up and help me because she is with the 2nd graders. My aide is supposed to help me with behaviors because I cannot touch the students having had no training, so she is the only one who can remove them from situations if they don't go quietly. I need help planning whole group and how to do small group for the READING BLOCK only. My 3rd graders do not get the 3rd grade math, but they have FCAT testing, so I have to stick with it, so can I just have the 2nd graders do the same as the 3rd graders?? With science, social studies, I can teach one or the other, the books are similar. I want to use my aide in the best possible way, but right now, she is not helping me with behaviors and i need that right now the most. I just cannot get the hang of teaching two grades with no teaching experience to fall back on.

Can you explain a little further about how you are trying to teach, and what is required? I guess my question is: is there a required curriculum or can you devise your own using IEP goals to drive it?

I teach a self-contained split class of 6th and 7th graders. Some things I do... Teach a whole group lesson and then split them up for the activity based on their grade. For example, I would do a lesson on mean, median, mode, and range. 6th graders do not need to know range so when I am planning their activity range is not included. However, since it is included in the 7th grade activity, I will spend some time going over it again with the 7th graders. For reading, we do direct instruction so the kids are split up by their actual reading level. I use centers so that I can do the main instructing. For example: I have a group reading with me. There is a group on the listening center or reading independently (or completing their workbook), and there is a group doing CCC reading instruction on the computer. When my group gets to the workbook part, we switch. This way I can see all of my kids for reading. There are some times when the lessons get longer that I have my para meet with a group but I try to not let them happen more than 2 days in a row. It also helps because my para is there to help the kids who need it but if I needed her to take care of a discipline problem so that I don't have to be interrupted during my instruction, she is available.

I am in a self-contained classroom, teaching math, reading, science, social studies and grammar. They get pulled out for specials (media, PE, art, music) and social skills and speech. My school follows the HARCOURT curriculum, i have not even tied IEP goals to the curriculum. I have been trying to follow what the regular ed is teaching, but my kids are below level and after almost one month they are still not getting some of the math, science.

I have a K-2 Mild Autism class. This year I do not have any kindergarten students but I do have 2 first graders functioning at a kg. level. I meet with all of my students for Morning Meeting. I then divide my class into 3 groups. I work with the lowest group for reading and I have my parapro. switch between the other 2 groups for direct instruction in reading. They come to me after their reading instruction for their paper pencil/reading assignment. The group that does not have direct teacher instruction are at centers. I then do writing workshop. Everyone draws their picture at the same time and then my parapro and I work mostly with the students that are struggling with letter sound recognition. I also rotate around the higher functioning students. We meet as a whole group for their writing lesson. Everyone learns the same thing but I will send away students in groups of 2 or more when the lesson becomes too complex for them. They work on individualized assignments with the parapros assistance. I have 5 different math groups and I work with 4 groups at a time. I love math and have no problem working with 4 different groups at a time. I work on the same concept with all groups (ie addition) and teach a whole group lesson and then I break them off into groups. Each group will work at a reinforcing lesson as they wait for me to meet with them. I have only been provided with the regular ed. math program. The sp. ed. dept. gave me a language arts program that is not heavily based on language, which is where a lot of my students have difficulty. I also use Touch Math and love it!! If your students are having problems in math, get this program. I have not had a student who has not been able to perform successfully in math with the introduction of Touch Math. I find it easier to teach whole group lessons and then have the lower level groups leave the whole group lesson when the concepts become to hard for them. I use a lot of visuals and I keep my verbally interactive in my lessons. They also love coming up to use my whiteboard or overhead. My parapro. will work with them when they leave. My first graders were exposed to a lot of 2nd grade concepts last year. They did not "get" some of them but that exposure will help them this year. You should choose which subjects and the grade that you will like your parapro will work with. You should both teach small group lessons with both grades. Your parapro. will need to be able to work with both groups as when you are away the sub will most likely depend on her a lot. You will need to be able to work with the 2nd graders because when your parapro is away, the sub will depend on your skills and suggestions too. My parapro has not yet earned the respect of my students and she has trouble walking just 5 students in from recess without a "problem", even though 3 of the students are returning students from last year - very frustrating. As far as I am concerned, unless you have to, you don't have to depend on the "regular ed. curriculum" provided to the teachers in your school. I use some materials from the old language arts program my school had 3 years ago and a spelling program that they used 3 years ago. I also know that some of the regular ed. teachers still use some of their old material. I am using Kidwriting and the regular ed. teachers are adopting Step Up To Writing. I tried the Step Up program last year but I found that most of my students had problems with it and it was too hard to teach 2 different writing programs, so I chose the one that fits best for the majority of my students and one that is easy for me to do if I am alone with them. Find a program that works for your students and meets their IEP objectives. Just make sure that you cover all of the material that they need for their FCAT test. It sound like your students are not at grade level, so don't be afraid to work at a grade level below in some areas. If they do not understand 2nd grade math, they won't understand 3rd grade math. I spent 2 months trying to teach 5 students how to add; I tried everything -- used manipulatives, kinesthestics, visuals ... They finally got it before Dec. Until you get your class' behaviors under control I don't see a problem on teaching everyone the same thing and giving out different assignments. You will need your parapros assistance while the students are working. Make sure you explain to her why you have taken away the 2nd graders from her, as you don't want her to think that you are questioning her teaching abilities. Get your crisis intervention training right away, because if your students are as astute as my students and realize that you will not touch them when they need to be removed from a situation, they may act out more when your parapro is not in the room. What are you expected to do if your parapro is absent?

I get so jealous hearing about the extra help you have. I'll be the Student Support teacher this year. By definition, my students will all be at least 2 grade levels below where they should be in Math, Reading, Writing, or a combination of these. In the mornings, I'll have 8-10 students (by myself--no aide or assistant) in grades 4-6 who are functioning at anywhere from a grade 2-5 level. 2 of the students have behaviour identifications as well as LDs; 2 are ADHD, one has an Autism Spectrum Disorder, the others LDs. In the afternoon, same class make-up, just older students. I will be doing the same as others have mentioned--teach large group lessons, then split for independent work. When students are not working with me, they will need to be working on their own. I do not use grade level curriculum or materials because the students are not working at grade level (if they were, they wouldn't be with me). One of my grade 8 students, for example, will be working on adding 2-digit numbers without regrouping-how could I expect him to understand grade 8 math concepts?

MrsC, our resource room teachers do not get any extra support also. They also teach students with various eligibilities who are enrolled in the regular ed. classroom - including severe ADHD, autism, LD, EBD students... They usually have to limit their class size to 6 students because their room is pretty well the size of an oversized walk-in closet. I have a self-contained class, so by law I get a parapro. and I need a parapro to mainstream my students in regular ed. I could be left with up to 10 students while my parapro is mainstreaming a child.

Proud2BATeacher, What are you students mainstreamed for? I teach first grade students with multiple handicaps. Two have autism, one has Downs, one has CP, and one is CD. Each one of my students has a classroom aide for their general education classroom and I have a classroom aide. I teach my students math, reading/phonics, and handwriting based on what their IEP states. It states the amount of time that each student is to recieve instruction in my classroom, so do not have a self-contained classroom. But some of my teachers think that the students should not be in their classrooms and keep sending them to my room. I have nothing planned for them to do because I have already provided the instruction to them. I am also going crazy becuase I am trying to plan my schedule. All of my students have a different gen ed teacher and who all have thier specials at different times.

krisautin, The students that I have right now are mainstreamed for different areas. I have 1 student not mainstreamed at all except for lunch and recess, but I think I will start him off with Specials in the next 2 weeks. My class this year are mainstreamed for lunch, recess and Specials. I have 1 that will be mainstreamed in math in October. I only have 1 parapro right now and presently no one is able to be mainstreamed without support, so their being mainstreamed in pretty well dependent on her availablity. Unfortunately it does not look like I will get another parapro. I would provide the teachers with a schedule as to when their student will be coming to your class. Talk with your sp.ed. coordinatior/school administration about getting the classroom teacher to contact them first before sending that student to you outside of their scheduled time. If their IEP states that they have to be mainstreamed for a specific amount of time each day, then unless there is a situation where the child cannot handle being in regualr ed. during a certain time, teachers should not be allowed to send students back to you. Personally, I would be sending back unscheduled students back to their general ed. teacher with a note and I will be keeping notes on what teacher is not following their student's IEP by sending their students to you during their mainstreaming time. You are lucky each student gets an aide. For planning the only thing I could suggest is to get each students' gen. ed. teacher's schedule and see if some of them match up. This will allow you to pull small groups of students at the same time instead of trying to get all of them at the same time. Do their aides come with them when they come to your room? Put them to work helping out with small groups if they do -- set up centers and they can each "man" a center; this way they work with every child rather than their own.

Thanks for the clarification. We don't have any self-contained classes in our school so our support is spread pretty thin. We will have two Educational Assistants, one Health Assistant and 2 Child and Youth Workers (who deal primarily with behaviour issues) for our school of over 600 students. It will be a challenge next week to sit down and work on their timetables!

Thank you so much for your suggestions. I will have a whole group time and a small group time for Reading (TROPHIES) and I am going to look at the standards and combine the math, science and social studies. I have to try and make this work and get my aide to understand I have nothing against her teaching, but I am the one responsible to teach, and she is there to help support in behaviors. The behaviors are what are stopping me from being able to get a chance to teach.

Don't forget that your assistant will need to be involved in the teaching (you do the planning). As it comes time for IEPS and other IEP related meetings, your assistant will have to be able to teach your students unless you are planning on having all of your meetings before and after school. If you are sick, your sub will be looking to your assistant for direction and she has not worked with your students she will not be able to provide any 'hints' as what will work with your students. You also need to deal with their behaviors. Your students need to know that you are the "boss" when they misbehave, not your assistant. Just telling the assistant to remove them when they are a big disruption is not enough. When your assistant is away, you will need to remove them not the sub as usually a stranger touching a student makes behaviors worse. You don't want the assistant to be seen as the bad guy all of the time. Please remember you need to work as a team and that means giving up some of the teaching when you feel more comfortable in your position, so your assistant can learn first hand your students' learning styles and when she can or can't push them academically. It will also give you time to spend with small groups of your students.

I teach a self-contained 3rd-5th grade class. Although I am the teacher, my para(s) work with groups just like I do. However, I work with all the students sometime during each day. Whether we are doing a whole class lesson, going to PE, doing art... I spend time with all the kids. Also, I rotate the math groups so that I teach all students during the month. Most of the time, I work with the 3rd and 4th level students. I will rotate this and work with k, 1, 2 leveled students during each month. My para(s) are highly qualified to teach their groups, but I am the teacher. I need to know how each child is progressing. I enjoy my students and switching groups allows me time with them. Science and Social Studies is hard to accomplish when you have more than one grade level in the room and they are functioning so far below grade-level. This year I am combining certain parts of their grade-level material so that we teach it together. I have drawn a huge map of the USA in pencil and put it on the back wall. 3rd grade studies community - so the whole class is learning about our town. We have found it on the map and put a red star there. Later we will move into fourth grade and fill out the rest of California. We will learn about the various indian tribes in the area (3,4,5 - grade level standards), add geographic features (standards), Missions (standards), and outline it in something other than pencil. We will learn the capital (standards) and natural resources (standards). THen we will move to 5th grade material for the colonization of America. We will learn about the 13 colonies (standards) and outline each of these states. We will add capitals etc... just like we did with California. Eventually, we will have a student made map on the back wall and the students will have been exposed to the key standards for each grade-level. Of course, we are not learning things to the same depth that gen ed students do. We can't. THere aren't enough hours in the day.