I'm the 7-12th grade Special Education teacher. I teach Math, English, Literature, and Functional Living classes. My students learn best when they can understand how every standard relates directly to them. For this reason, each year we have a different 'theme' that I incorporate into each lesson like: "Learning the Backstory", "Tolerance", "Mindfulness", "Music", etc. All lessons are tailored to the individual student and their unique needs. We spend a lot of time working on employability and daily living skills. Social interaction and personal skills have to be implicitly taught as well as the importance of basic hygiene.
As a class, we talk through hard situations they're going through outside of school.
These students are truly like a family. They're with me for 6 years and I have close relationships with all of them and their parents (I grew up in the town where I teach). These kids are everything to me!
In my room, my students have varying levels of disabilities. One thing that they all have in common is the love and respect for a 'good book'. I don't know how I got so lucky to have a class of kids who love to read. Some struggle with reading, so we have technology to provide audio as they follow along in the book. Their love isn't phased by their disability.
My students have a budding interest in Young Adult books and I want to nurture that and help it develop into a beautiful love of reading.
They have looked through book orders and have gone online to look at best selling lists. Each student contributed a book title (or a couple) that they would love to see added to our classroom library. For example, one particular student is attracted to Ellen Hopkin's style of writing. With parent permission, she has read the few titles that I already have. Several are interested in the new book, Dear Martin. Other popular titles that they requested were, Everything, Everything, The Poet X, A Map of Days, Little Fires Everywhere, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, Emma in the Night, Truly, Madly, Guilty, and Dead Letters. There are stories from a variety of authors and genres and I'm excited to allow my students to check these books out and read them for pleasure. No worksheets. No essays. No reports. No class discussion. Just read for pleasure.
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