I am currently a first-year special education teacher at a high school in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. The majority of my students commute to school from the West and South sides of Chicago. Our school strives to provide a quality education as well as strong social/emotional support for each and every student we serve.
We have a 93% low income rate at our school.
We also serve a fairly high percentage of students with IEPs. Specifically, two of the classes I teach are freshmen special education English classes. The majority of my students have reading levels of 3rd-5th grade.
Throughout my short time at this high school, I have been able to form very strong, meaningful relationships with my students. They have especially taken a strong liking to my English class, volunteering their lunch time to come to my classroom and get ahead on their work or discuss the novel we are currently reading. All of the teachers at my school as well as myself continue to work hard every day to provide a a structured, safe environment for our students that makes them feel comfortable coming to school and being challenged each day.
My students need a set of engaging books for our next English unit, specifically 26 copies of Touching Spirit Bear. This set of books will make a difference in my students' learning because this is a very high interest novel that is also appropriate for my students' reading levels that are below grade level. I work hard to plan lessons and readings that I know will engage my students, while also challenging them.
This novel addresses a variety of emotions and healthy ways to regulate them.
A significant number of my students have emotional/behavioral disorders, resulting in difficulty regulating anger and other emotions. I think bringing up these issues with my students using instructional activities will significantly benefit them academically as well as social/emotionally.
This novel also incorporates the concept of restorative practices, which is a practice that our school has fully embraced. I believe this novel will engage each of my students as they relate to the various characters and circumstances.
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