George Lucas Educational Foundation

any resource room teachers out there??

any resource room teachers out there??

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Hi, I'm a first-year Intervention Specialist. I currently teach at a Catholic high school, running what they call the Academic Support Program. Basically, it's a "resource room" where different groups of kids come in each period w/their work from other classes. It's supposed to be a place where they can do hw, get help, study for tests, etc. ...this is quite difficult though, as all the students are in different grades (9-12) mixed up, all in different classes, VERY different levels of ability, etc. And it's just me w/up to 10 students who are all doing different things at different time and seem to need help at exactly the same moments :) Just checking to see if anyone in the discussion group teaches in this type of setting...resource room, etc, and if anyone can share ideas, tips, etc. for engaging the students, motivating them to do their homework for 88 minute blocks (crazy, I know!!). I'd especially love creative ideas for activities I can do with ALL the students to build vocab/comprehension skills that would somehow work w/the mixed grade levels/classes. Thanks!!

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Beth's picture
Special Education Teacher in Northwest Indiana

Hello Nicole!
I can remember my first year in special education. I felt as though I was just trying to stay afloat the whole year! I teach two resource classes with students in grade levels 9-12 all working on different subjects at the same time. I work with specific groups of students every day, knowing I won't be able to meet with them all one one day.
The way I run the class is that they are expect to bring homework, study for a test/quiz or read a book while they are in my room during resource time. Then I give the students a schedule of when I will be meeting with them specifically to work on their goals in their IEP.
Sometimes, when I'm roaming the room, I'll notice that my students who are in Algebra (for example) are all struggling. I'll stop what I'm doing and have all the students participate in the mini-lesson. More than likely, they could all use the refresher. If I have a student that has already mastered my mini-lesson, I use that student as a peer tutor.
I know it seems overwhelming but have the students work together, helping each other out. Another thing I have in my room is a dry erase board with all the assignment from all of the classes (9-12 all subject) written on it for the week (updated daily). Either myself or my aides and sometimes students help update the board. This helps me know what is going on in the classrooms and what the students should be working on (ie. studying for the upcoming test,etc).
I hope this helps and please...feel free to ask me for more advice. If I think of anything else, I will let you know!

Wendy Arscott's picture

The best strategy you can implement is the design principles of structured teaching. It works every time. Please go to and read all there is. It works with all students. I have developed a room with 19 students and 15 assistants and it works like clock work, everything in its place. The evaluation piece is key to keeping track of progress.

Carrie's picture

Hi! I just tried to go to the website and it came up as a website that is for sale. Is there a different address? This website sounds awesome. I work with a group of diverse students all day and would like some ideas as to how to make my room more effective. Thanks!

Merri Fretwell's picture

I would HIGHLY recommend using the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. I used this book along with low element team building activities several times through the week. The kids sometimes groaned about the book, but when I used the team building activities to parallel with ideas from the book, they were learning social/team/leadership/problem-solving skills.

Hope this helps!

Melissa Emler's picture
Melissa Emler
H ighschool special ed

Try using publications from mindware as anchor activities or attention getting activities. This publisher has a lot of brain based activities that will challenge and engage the students when they are not on task. I also try to group the students together that are doing the same thing, so I don't explain the science assignment more than once. Good luck.

phughes's picture
Special Education Resource Specialist K - 8

Hi Nicole,
I have been in Special Education for 35 years. I have had a great deal of success with teaching the students what they don't know. I give them an assessment at the beginning of each school year. It shows me exactly what they don't know. I begin teaching them from there. I assess again before an IEP so I can show growth.
I start out each class (5 periods throughout the day) with everyone reading aloud (Yes, at the same time and different books. They don't notice after awhile)from a book at their ability reading level. After reading it three different days, they take a test and 99% of the time pass it. They continue going to a new level after passing each book in .1 increments, i.e. 2.0, 2.1. My students usually improve 2 reading levels each year. This is for all grades K through 8th. Everyone reads to me at some point of the period everyday. I also teach specific lessons where I focus on Grammar and Vocabulary. I see them according to grade level or 4 to 5 students at a time. It is much more involved then what I have stated. I use specific tools for assessment and teaching. If you believe in them, that is half the battle. I don't ever have behavior problems. Because of budget cuts, I won't be getting an assistant this year, but I know I will be able to work alone because my students are familiar with the structure. One important detail, I teach 4 days a week and test, have IEP's, etc. one day a week.

Tonya's picture
Special Education teacher from Texas

Nicole, I am a Special Education Resource Teacher like phughes. I teach students with learning disabilties, ADHD, emotional and behavior disorders, cognitive disabilities (old m.r.), autism, you name it...

My set up is basically the same as hers and it works well. Last year, I had 23 students in K-5th grades and one awesome assistant. All of my students passed their grade-level state exams except one in one subject only. He basically played around to be honest. It is important to be very structured so that the students know what to expect every day when they walk in the door. This cuts down on behavior issues.

Do you have the students use Whisper Phones for their reading aloud? I love this idea, because it makes the student accountable...they can't be pretending to read and then fail a test over the book.

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