I'm a K-2 Special Education teacher and I teach in a self-contained class. I keep my little guys all day and teach them all the major subjects. My teaching style can be summarized in 2 words: Organized Chaos! There are always at least 2 lessons happening at a time in my class, and sometimes three. This means I'm bouncing around between groups to provide instruction, feedback, and assistance. If you want to see my absurdly crazy schedule click here!
I teach all the curriculum standards, plus extra stuff for my special little guys. Autism and Asperger's are common in my class over the years, so social skills has become a huge part of my teaching! I build social skills lessons into my every day activities. It's not uncommon for me to stop kids, move them back to where they were, and have them repeat an entire classroom scenario in a social appropriate way. I love, love, love Michelle Garcia Winner and Social Thinking. Click the "Resources for Teachers and Parents" tab at the top of my page to see info for her website.
I have a "whole child" approach to teaching. Every lesson is filled with academics, social skills, speech/articulation practice, and lots of love! I keep my students for 1-3 years and I get to know the families very well. Also, we go on overnight field trips every year to build our skills and learn in real world environments. These trips are exhausting, but I love seeing the kids outside of school. Some kids really struggle in the classroom, but thrive on field trips. I teach at a private school and I have the freedom to do whatever I want in my classroom, as long as no one gets hurt and there aren't any parent complaints. This makes it sooo much easier, because my kids don't follow a plan! Some are little geniuses with super duper academics, and struggling social skills. Others are sweet as pie, but really struggle to learn on the first try. I can take a "try, try, try again" approach and change things up so they receive the info in many different ways.
My latest approach to teaching has been Whole Brain Teaching. It's a tricky thing to make work in my multi-age class, but so far so good! I just have to tweak things a bit. My kids are totally into the rules!! They chant them out as they follow them. In fact, "Follow Directions Quickly!!" has become the chant I use when I'm done giving directions and I'm ready for them to get up and do what I asked. Links to Whole Brain Teaching can also be found on my "Resources for Teachers" tab.
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