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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

How are some K-4 Special Education teachers running their Programs?

How are some K-4 Special Education teachers running their Programs?

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What a question. What's the best? As a special education teacher with a recent career change I am searching for ideas. I was a special education inclusion teacher for years. I had been meeting the needs of kids for 17 years at the middle school level in my district. I spent one year in the regular education class and because of some late summer resignations at my school I had to be moved back to special education, BUT at the K-4 level. I always love work and the kids and am keeping this attitude in this big change. Trying to target the specific need of the students and pick the correct program is difficult. As an inclusion teacher in the past I had small groups of 12, now I have small groups of 2-4 and only spend a couple of periods of the day in the classroom. For the first time in my career, I have time to really work with kids in small groups. It is just 30 minutes 5 times a week, but that is awesome. The kids are young and I feel like I can have an impact. I am using Phonographix/ Abcdarian with one group, Visualizing and Verbalizing with another, I am using Read Naturally with my fourth grade boys for awhile with the intention of targeting a more specific need for this group as I get to know them. I am using Soars and Phonographix with another group. I am thinking of relearning Lips and/or Seeing Stars for my little children who do not know their sounds. I was trained in LIP{S years ago, but haven't had opportunity to use it as I do now. My school does Guiding reading and I did the Benchmarks on my kids. I was wondering if I should use the LLI program with some of my kids as the reading teachers do, or just stick to Soars. I also cherish basic ideas from how to manage day to day. The Push in and pull out both have benefits and I am taking serious my time I pull a child out of the room... I know the miss so much and I greatly want what I give them to matter. I certainly could use a group to help me do just that....BY the way.... I still want to spend time with family, read for pleasure, hike, run and relax.

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Ruth's picture
K-4 Special Education

Correction at the end: I know THEY miss so much (when they are pulled from class) I thought I could edit after I hit post... Sorry.. this is my first Edutopia post...

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

Hi Ruth! Thanks so much for stopping by Edutopia and posting this question. I know more of the teachers involved will have a lot to offer in terms of programs, but I'll answer this as a parent of kids with IEP's and one who attended a private school for kids with learning disabilities.

Linda Mood Bell, RAVE-O, Wilson Reading, and Fundations are all research based reading programs that can be very helpful.

One of the things I found so helpful in encouraging my kids with LD to learn to read was to couple entertaining audio books (like Harry Potter) that spoke to their interest level, while scaling up difficulty on books they could read independently. When you are a boy that loves Batman or Iron Man, reading "Hop On Pop" seems babyish and not worth the trouble. I put allof our books in a box ranging from elementary to gradually harder reading levels in a box, and gave James a sticker every time he read one aloud to me. He could save up the stickers for a reward,usually things like a Yu Gi Oh card or some other thing, but at the 25's and at 100, the rewards were bigger and more attractive.

Obviously, this is a straight forward behavior mod system, but since the underlying skill is reading, and once they know how to do it, they can't "forget", eventual withdrawing of the rewards isn't a problem. Moreover, since James was in charge of what to read and how many books he wanted to read, he was in control, so there was no more cajoling or coercion involved. It was a great way for me to actively support the school staff and make reading practice more fun for my son- maybe that's something to suggest to parents to help their kids at home as well?

I think encouraging the kids to practice in between class sessions and get practice in a fun way at home would really help. I know not every parent will do this, but so many parents worry about their kids and reading, finding ways to blend excitement with cool audio books above their reading level, while they cruise through reading level appropriate books, helps also emphasize all the worthwhile things there are to read- I think its hard for boys who like action to always have the patience to let their reading level catch up to their interest level, if you know what I mean.

Robyn Fox's picture
Robyn Fox
K-6 Resource Teacher Indiana

I am a second year Spec. Ed resource teacher. Our program uses ReadWell intervention for some students, Voyager Reading & Math for others and numerous IPad apps. I am always searching for researched based interventions because nothing works for every child! I am loving it so far, especially working in small groups on specific things. Good luck!

Ruth's picture
K-4 Special Education

Hi Robyn,
Thanks for your reply. I hope you are enjoying your year. What ipad apps have you used most?

Robyn Fox's picture
Robyn Fox
K-6 Resource Teacher Indiana

The kids like Bluster, Splash Math, and Hungry Fish. I like Math Bingo & Mental math. I have several Life Skills-type apps on the IPad but I don't use them. We just received them at the end of November so I haven't had time to see which other ones the students like to use. Good Luck!

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