Working in a public K-8 school, located on an exceptionally diverse island in downeast Maine, I teach students with unique and varying needs in the resource room. Being a small island school that celebrates inclusion, the students who receive support from my classroom, have needs that range from organizational issues to learning disabilities, and emotional and behavioral challenges to diagnoses of Downs Syndrome and Autism.
My 5th and 6th graders, rising middle school students, come to school the first day ready to exert their independence and take charge of their own learning in a much different way than the teacher-directed style of their earlier education years.
Yet, my students face a variety of challenges related to his/her own disability, alongside those faced by similar age peers, as they navigate the waters of pending adolescence. Truly, they are my inspiration!
These binders will afford the opportunity for my pre-teen students, who are beginning to crave more independence, to be able to progress toward a more student-directed learning approach. To begin, I will place goals for each student in a page protector at the front. I will meet with each student and we will discuss ways to meet those goals collaboratively. After this discussion, materials will be placed in each binder to guide this process. Then students will be able to come into the resource room and grab their own binder and set right off to work.
Middle school students are in need of academic independence, yet this must be balanced with fostering the need for meaningful relationships with other adults than their parents or guardians.
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