"Why can't I just focus and listen?" a student said to me in tears. My students are all in Special Education and they struggle to understand why school comes so easily to the other kids in their class.
At our school students with learning disabilities are fully included in the General Education classrooms.
Our goal is to not single out students who learn differently, but instead give them the help that they need discreetly. Unfortunately we can't stop the feelings of frustration and inadequacy that comes when they look around and see that everything seems to come so easily to the other students.
We are a part of an innovative charter school system in California that employs project-based learning strategies. Students, especially those with learning disabilities, tend to flourish in this unique, hands-on, multimedia learning environment. Acceptance to our school is a lottery system by zip-code, therefore our school population almost perfectly reflects the county's diverse demographic. As a result, we have a significant population of students whose families are well under the poverty line.
At my school I started a graphic novel library. It has been a great success with struggling readers. The graphic novels give them the comprehension support they need to engage with more complicated (and more interesting) texts.
Recently we got the Naruto box set and it has been a huge hit - the problem is that I didn't know that the set was the first of three.
My students have been fighting over volumes and even reading over their friend's shoulders to pressure them to finish. They have been quickly approaching the last volume in the library. I want to try and get ahead of them and buy the rest of the series so that we can keep their enthusiasm for reading going.
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