Sunday, June 30, 2013

Teaching Special Learners

     As some of you know, I have my masters degree in Special Education.  My minor was in emotional/behavior disorders so that is what I focused on the most during my graduate program.  I learned many great strategies for managing behavior but not as much on learning disabilities.  My first year of teaching I taught sixth grade language arts & social studies in which I didn't really use my masters degree too much. This year I will be teaching the same grade and subject but will be having an inclusion class. The sad part is I feel like I have forgotten many of the strategies I learned about teaching students with disabilities.  So part of my goal this summer is to refresh my memory and be prepared with many strategies to use for teaching an inclusion class.

   Currently I'm reading the book Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess which is helping me learn how to engage all readers.  I believe this alone will be a huge help when working with students of multiple ability levels.  For anyone who hasn't read it yet, it is a must read for any teacher.  I've been reading it on my kindle and taking notes as a read that I can go back and review again later.

   Another thing I am doing is skimming back through my textbooks from college to review what I previously learned.  There is so much information in these books that I really question how I managed to complete my degree in a year.

    So fellow bloggers, what do you do in your classroom to help special learners?  If you teach an inclusion class, what are some strategies that you use?  Do you structure your classroom in a different way than a standard class?  What advice can you give me on co-teaching with a special education teacher?

Thanks for your help!



  1. We don't have a real distinction between inclusion and non-inclusion classrooms in New Zealand. Everyone is all lumped in together (and then you have to fight for funding and resourcing etc). One thing I've found really useful/helpful in my teaching of literacy is vertically grouping your students. So instead of grouping them always in their like levels and teaching skills that way, group your able ones, with your not so able ones and teach a skill/lesson that way. Your able ones will still pick up the lesson just as quickly, but they will also consolidate the learning by explaining/teaching the others in your group. The not so able ones get twice as much teaching (once from you, and also from the other kids). Not only that, but they hear the higher level thinking from the able students.

    Sorry about such a long comment!! Hope it helps!

    The E-Z Class

  2. I think Teach Like a Pirate is a great book to help guide teachers to reach those special learners. The key being, do anything and everything it takes because there will never be one perfect answer for everyone. In fact, especially with those special learners, there's a different "right way to reach them" with every single child. Great post.
    Creating Lifelong Learners


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