As any teacher is aware, there are many tiers of student groups in education. In most schools, students are separated by grade levels. In classrooms, they may be grouped by academic ability. In many special education classrooms, they are categorized by need. Special education teachers are familiar with the spectrum of needs for their students. One particular category is students with severe emotional behavior disorders. This type of disorder can manifest in many different forms. One student may be a loner and below typical academic ability. Another student may have multiple outbursts in a day, but be of average or above academic ability. The behaviors may be extreme. Behavior is not always indicative of ability though. Severe emotional behavior disorder can affect a student’s academic progress, interpersonal relationships, classroom behavior, and self-care. So, what happens when you are responsible for this type of student in your classroom? Ideally, you would want the support of guardians, administration, and co-workers. That does not always happen as we think it should. Here are some ways that you alone can make a difference in the student’s life.
If you incorporate a Word Study program into your classroom, then gone are the days of the Friday spelling test! The concept of word study is that students learn strategies or patterns that will transfer to many words. Students are no longer required to memorize lists of unrelated or meaningless words. When I taught first and second grade, I utilized phonics and encouraged phonemic awareness. Little did I know I was using a new way of spelling called “word study”!
Differentiation is a one word description for a method to reach every student and provide them with access to the curriculum that fits their learning style and their interests. There are four areas that differentiation can occur: product, process, content, and environment. Differentiating content does not mean veering from the state standards or laws required to teach by law. You stick to what you are required to teach, but your presentation of the material may vary. It is the “how” of your teaching. No two teachers will teach exactly the same and ideas on how to differentiate content can very well come from within your own building. Content differentiation can be any of the following:
Imagine students so engrossed in a topic that nothing stops them from reading, discussing, and thinking about it. Tablets, smartphones, or notebook computers in tow, students discuss the assigned readings they completed beforehand and exchange ideas or opinions about each section read. The digital book club is a 21st-century twist on its traditional predecessor, and have the potential to be an effective tool for student learning. These are five keys you want to consider when forming your clubs this year:
Now that the school year is in full swing, educators must find a way to connect with the families or support systems of the children they serve. Establishing early contact with families promotes a healthy school-community partnership and demonstrates that you are not only concerned with the child’s success this school year, but also value their insight into how to best support their learning development. Listed below are some suggestions that may help you in making the most of this valuable time.
What defines a good teacher? Students will provide you with a variety of responses. In reality, there is no set criterion for a “good” teacher, but I believe the most essential tool for an effective teacher is classroom management. Our methods of teaching may vary. Some rely heavily upon direct instruction while others may experiment with a flipped classroom. Each element serves its own purpose and engages the children. Classroom management affects ALL the students. You can be a “good” teacher, but if your classroom management skills are lacking, your talent may be overlooked.
As I listened to our opening day Back to School speaker, something the speaker said hit me. He said, “we need to make it a one to one!” He wasn’t referring to the one to one initiatives we all hear about, he wanted teachers to develop meaningful relationships with our students. The more I thought about this concept, the more I saw how it fits into the model of differentiation. Basically, when we get to know our students, on a personal level, our teaching can be more effective. So how is this possible in a classroom of 30 students?
Do your plans for the first few weeks of school include formative assessments? If so, you are not alone. The first assessment of the school year (for most districts) is your baseline. Using programs such as DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment), allows you to get a snapshot of your students’ independent and instructional reading levels. Finding their level, early in the school year, allows you to monitor their growth throughout the year. This post will provide information on how to use their test results to increase student achievement as well as helpful tips to get started if you have never used this assessment before.
Audiobooks are underrated and underutilized as classroom resources and literacy tool. They provide a means to introduce students to literature that is unfamiliar or materials that otherwise may go overlooked. Audiobooks also help students practice listening skills that are required by Common Core. In addition, possibly the most important reason to integrate audiobooks into classroom resources; they are especially beneficial for use with reluctant readers and students with learning challenges associated with reading.
Do your students struggle with comprehension due to lack of background knowledge? Increasing your students’ vocabulary will increase their reading comprehension and intellectual ability. Too often students glide right over important words that are essential to understanding main ideas. Encourage your students to develop strategies as well as allowing them to question unfamiliar words. Having a notebook handy while reading is important. This can be used to create their own vocabulary lists. These self-generated lists can be used for various thoughtful and engaging classroom activities.