This year, I have been selected with the amazing, and challenging task of teaching ELA to my school’s 30 students identified with moderate to severe disabilities. Along with the inherent challenges that face my students and their families because of my students’ unique needs, many of my students also come from low income households where parents are working multiple jobs. Most of my students continually qualify for free or reduced lunch. However, none of this means that our classroom is not a meaningful educational environment.
Lessons with my classroom involve student interaction that gets them out of their seats, moving around the classroom and interacting with their peers.
We read novels, learn about history and current events, and explore progressive ideas that may lead to change. There is no better joy than seeing your student who is non-verbal find and learn a way to communicate with others using their “voice” to say that they are happy to be at school and they are happy to have friends. In my classroom, we work hard to challenge each other to do our best while respecting that everyone is at a different level in their education.
This year, I have two main focuses: getting my students to be come more independent and getting my students more organized! File crates, small organizational materials, and binder rings are simple, but effective strategies in keeping students and a classroom organized!
Therefore, much of what I am requesting focuses on my students on becoming more independent in both their organization skills as well as their independent work.
Many of my requests seem small, but will greatly impact my students in becoming more independent in areas such as academics and independent living skills (jobs, cleaning, cooking, etc.). Items such as the dish drying rack will help students with these job and independent skills by teaching them how to perform tasks such as washing and putting away dishes. Each student will also have individual materials such as pens and pencils and a water bottle to stay hydrated (you would be surprised at how little students drink during the instructional day!). The filing crates, pencil organizers, and binder rings will help my students become more organized and more independent on getting their materials all by themselves.
Other requests involve social stories that will explicitly, but humorously, explain social norms and rules to my students who need addition help in the are of social skills. I have already purchased a couple of these stories, and my students reference them on an almost daily basis. Many of our social lessons are based off of these types of stories.
The foam dice will help my student engage in vocabulary games and social games such as a modified version on Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!. The timers will help my staff better reference how students are doing on their independent goals and will allow them to time exactly how independent they are!
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