9 Replies Latest reply: Dec 6, 2011 1:11 PM by taralynng RSS

Help a first year teacher

johnmichaelleggett New User
Currently Being Moderated

I am a first year teacher in Texas. I teach 2nd-5th grade self-contained special education. I have found it quite difficult to plan lessons since I have such a wide variety of students on multiple levels. Does anyone have any ideas that they think would help me out. Thanks.

  • Re: Help a first year teacher
    Jane Brown Master
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    Are you familiar with the many blue-ribbon lesson plans already established by Verizon Thinkfinity Content Partners? A simple search for lessons by topic will give your many useable lessons to print and use with modifications to meet the specific needs of your student.

     

    A second suggestion for you is to Join the group New Teachers Making The Grade where you can discuss and share ideas for your beginning teaching years.  Go to Browse All > Groups on the gold navigation bar and look for other groups of interest to your.

     

    And finally, I would suggest you locate a face2face Thinkfinity Training and attend it to learn more about Thinkfinity resources and the Integration Plan Framework. You can go to http://www.thinkfinity.org > and select Professional Development > In Your State to see what is being offered in Texas.

     

    If this last search does not give you any options, please remember that there are Recorded webinars that may help you. go to http://www.thinkfinity.organd select Professional Development > On-demand Webinars from the gold navigation bar and look for some Recorded Session to help you.

     

    A final suggestion here is to come join us in a short 2-week session online course, Thinkfinity & Social Networking for Educators to learn more about how Thinkfinity Community can meet your needs. You will never feel alone again, no matter how small or rural your school may be. To register for this course, go to http://www.thinkfinity.org and select Professional Development > Online Courses from the gold navigation bar.  I'll see you there!

  • Re: Help a first year teacher
    tifftr New User
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    Centers are a great way to teach children on multiple levels.  The centers can have the same activity, but be on different levels, such as spelling words or flash cards.  When children are working independently at their center you can help students either individually or with a small group studying the same thing.

  • Re: Help a first year teacher
    teacher333 New User
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    Having a mini-lesson to introduce the skill/concept, then breaking into their smaller groups or even individuals by themselves to work on activities at their levels works well.  You can create mini-cooperative groups for those whose skills are similar, either strengths or those needed to be worked on.  We try to mix up the activities, not just worksheets, but things that are more interactive, such as a "scavenger hunt" through magazines or the room; manipulatives; activities in which they work with a partner but need to be able to move around in their small area.  One site I have seen recently gave examples of something called "cootie catchers", what we called fortune-tellers as kids, and they used them to reinforce things such as contractions, odd/even numbers, science topics, and even social studies. 

    • Re: Help a first year teacher
      Jane Brown Master
      Currently Being Moderated

      I remember this fortune-telling activity from when I was a kid (many, many years ago)  .   This brings back fun memories.

       

      Never heard the item called a "Cootie Catcher" though, so immediately had to do a search. Thought perhaps some of you might need a refresher course on How to Make a Cootie Catcher, There is even a video "how to" for those of us who need a visual.

       

      Next, I'd love some more ideas for using a Cootie Catcher for learning.  Here is an idea I can see this working well:

       

      Put an action where the fortunes are usually written and use it as a generator activity to move students after a sedatary activity in the classroom. Children might select a flap with a weekly spelling word on it and you have them open and close it as they spell the word to get an activity like "run in place" or "hop on one foot."

       

      Love to hear your ideas!

      • Re: Help a first year teacher
        Levona Clark New User
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        I teach 4 and 5th grade and am self contained as well.  A mini lesson is wonderful. I have also taught the lesson whole group for one day and used stations the second day. Group your students by learning capabilities, create activities based on each level.  Each station should run for 20 minutes. Always have yourself as a station so you can reteach the lesson on the level of the students in each group. 

  • Re: Help a first year teacher
    johnmichaelleggett New User
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    Thank you all so much for the help. I will use all of your ideas.

  • Re: Help a first year teacher
    7paulette New User
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    To help a teacher is to show them what they need to know and what must be done. Let them know that they can do it as a teacher and get to a workshop.

     

    The process of learning is starting with the teacher, I feel every teacher should have attended a workshop.  They must have a certain time to finish their workshop so they can be ready to help the students with the task. When teachers have learned they could introduce to the students what they learned and and it would make the teacher glad to know that teaching what they have learned is wonderful and that to be excited that they mastered the learning. Working with them is a constant task and a good teacher doesn't give up on her students.  The motto don't stop until you  get it and let me know if they have learned  or not.  A good teacher don't want to not give up on her student.  All children should be motivated and constant reminded of what their goal is and what to expect like, give a treat to the first child who mastered it and make the class give them a welcome standing ovation.  Make the class hear how wonderful that working to learned is something; they need to have distilled in them and no matter how they worked they asked the teacher and that the teacher didn't mind teaching, helping, motivation, the student will tell the class that there were no problems with learning the teacher needs also a clap.  Teachers are the type of people who help students all the way and no matter how many students she has to help in her own very special way. The one to show how the workshop teaches you will be the student learning process, because if the student  have learned, then the student will learn.

     

    Educating is not easy but if the student learn it shows what the student have excelled.  Working hard is some task that had to be learned and was achieved.

  • Re: Help a first year teacher
    virginiaitrt New User
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hi John-Michael,  There are many lessons at Thinkfinity that can be adapted to any grade/age level.  Others have posted suggestions about centers, and they are wonderful for multi-level classes. For example, in a math lesson, using leaves, the lower elementary could examine and explain the shapes of leaves, whereas the upper level could actually estimate and measure the length of the leaves.  Peer tutoring, if appropriate, would give the higher level students responsibility and create self-esteem.  Check out this discussion board, http://www.proteacher.net/discussions/showthread.php?t=181445

    And this pdf entitled, "A Handbook for Teachers with Multi-Grade classes, http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001259/125919eo.pdf

     

    If I can help you in any way, please email me!

  • Re: Help a first year teacher
    taralynng New User
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hi John-Michael,

     

    We work in different states, so I am not sure whether there is a similar, applicable statute in Texas.  Sometimes the state laws are directly linked to federal mandates, etc.  I am in New York and here the following rule applies to self-contained SpEd classes:

     

    The achievement levels in reading and math should not exceed 3 years, except for special classes organized at 8:1:1, 6:1:1 and 12:1:4. If a school operates a class in which reading and math achievement levels exceed 3 years, the school must notify the Office of Student Enrollment and the parents of students in the class. This notice, which must be given no later than Nov. 1 each year, must provide the range of reading and math achievement levels and the general levels of social development, physical development and management needs in the class. The notice must also inform the parent of each student in the class that, upon request, they will be afforded an opportunity to discuss the description with an appropriate school representative. The parents (and teachers if not previously informed) of any new students entering that class after Nov. 1 must be provided a description of the class by the Office of Student Enrollment as detailed above.

     

     

    So... if you are seeing a range of functional levels beyond 3 years in your bridge class, it's possible that there might be a compliance issue.  Again, you would need to confirm that this applies in TX.

     

    While I think you are looking for some practical solutions to your dilemma, I still thought I should point this out.  There may be a formal grievance system or reporting system where this would be addressed in your state.  It's important that as teachers of students with exceptionalities we always report compliance issues, etc., that affect the services our students receive.  This helps ensure that the students receive the education to which they are entitled.

     

    ~Tara

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