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Multi-grade Class with Multi-grade Standards

I teach a special education class grades k-5.  I have 14 students with one full time TA and one part time TA.  I have all of my students all with the exception of the 45 min they go to special area classes (music, art, pe) with their non-disabled peers.  I am responsible for teaching all grade levels, subjects, standards, IEP goals, social skills, common sense and everything else that goes along with special needs students.  Some of my students will take the regular state assessments on their grade level (with modifications such as read aloud) and others will participate in an alternate portfolio assessment (data driven work samples.  Much more in-depth and time consuming than it sounds.)  Does anyone else have a class like this?  If so, how do you handle teaching all of these standards?  I would love any advice that anyone has to offer.
Thanks!

14 comments

  1. Hi Karla,

    I have 8 students at the moment. 4 JK, 2 SK, 1 grade 2 and 1 grade 3. I'm finding it very difficult to program for my grade 3 who is working at grade level. My others all kind of meet in the middle with most of my JK's as high as my SK's (or higher) and my grade 2 being at a K level. I don't have any great advice but would love to hear what others are doing too.

    Mandy
    http://aspecialkindofclass.blogspot.com

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  2. Mandy,
    What is JK and SK? I haven't seen those abbreviations before.

    Something great I found! Check out the site below and it will teach you how to link your blog to your comments so people can click right and go directly to your blog. It was easy. (It only took me a dozen tries to get it right, but I am challenged when it comes to technology.)


    http://www.teachingblogaddict.com/2011/04/leaving-direct-link-to-your-blog-in.html?showComment=1302652128009#c9197125322503323824

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  3. Karla,

    I will check that out.
    JK stands for junior kindergarten so the child must be 4 by Dec 31 (which means they can be 3 when they start in Sept) and SK is for senior kindergarten (or 5 by Dec 31 of that year). Neither are manditory but it would be unusual for a child not to start in JK.

    Mandy

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  4. Is that for all children or just special needs children? You are in Canada, is that right? Children do not start here until they are 5 and they must turn 5 before Sept. 30. It would be great to have kids start at 3. We would be able to identify so many more children earlier and get them the extra services they need before they are 5 and half or older.

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  5. Hi Karla,
    I teach a class very similar. I have 9 students grades k-3. I don’t have any great answers either, and look forward to reading others.
    In my room I currently have stations that I set up that I attempt to hit a variety of the grade level requirements as well as the individual education plans for each of the students through differentiation at the stations. The rotation is quick, 10 min, at each station that way the students do not have much time to lose their focus. After the student completes all of the station rotations they then can go back to finish any work that they could not finish during the rotation, or if they had to leave the room for specials, related services, gen. ed classroom time etc. Throughout the year my stations have changed in number and of course variety (everyday a new set of stations) and what type of activity that is done at each station. For example I had originally planned station 3 would always be word work/ writing type activities, some students, (those that had difficulty with this type of work), would begin to act out if they had to start at that station. So now I mix it up every day. Most stations the student work individually/independently or 1 on 1 with the teacher or one or two of my 2 paras. That way there is less conflict/ playing around among the students and they can complete their work. Everyday seems to be a new day, what might work for a period of time or work for even one day may or may not work the next time. I feel like I am inventing the wheel every single day and it wears me out!

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    Replies
    1. Steph,
      Hang in there! Just think of all the times those little people melt your heart when they demonstrate something new!
      I feel that way often and then I recall that a kiddo said, "I know" in response to a statement and it was the first time he had ever had an appropriate non-prompted response that made sense in context. :)
      I am trying to figure out myself how to expose all my students to work at their own grade level while giving them work that they are able to complete without behaviors. We have increased the amount of work time immensely this year. I don't know what easy resources are out there.

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  6. Stephanie,
    I know just how you feel. What worked yesterday may or may not work today. It seems like there are many of us in the same situation. It's no wonder the burn-out rate is so high in special ed, but I just keep trying and I do love my job! I can't imagine doing anything else.

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  7. I have k-5 students with autism, emotionally disabled, and other health impaired. I teach resource leveled language arts for 1-1st, 1-2nd, 1-3rd, 2-4th, and 1-5th. Math 1-2nd and 1-4th. It is insane and getting more difficult. Not to mention the 3 kids that are in the general education setting that I "monitor" or see when they are having difficulty.

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  9. I too teach in a similar environment. I am a new teacher teaching behavior modification to 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th. I am at a loss as to how I should reach all learners, cover IEP goals, cover the common core standards, and deal with their individual schedules. I'm honestly at a total loss of how to plan so that my kiddos are constantly engaged. Any ideas?

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  10. So I have grades 2-5 right now and I am sure I will be adding grades 1 and K soon. I have mixed groups and separate groups from 1-2 hours at a time. I also have kids that the aide pushes in with. I just started a week ago with kids (I work in a school that the students just came to with IEPs from their old schools). I am going nuts because I am walking into all of this and had to create the schedule, etc. Plus, I am only allowed to be part-time so I only have 3 1/2 days a week to fit it all in! Please help! I have the storage room as my classroom and hardly any resources. I come with some of my own but have always had one grade level to work with. Any ideas at all would help! Thank you!

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  11. Hello Everyone,
    I teach 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade self-contained special education. I have two full time paraprofessionals. It is very challenging to give each child what he/she needs and also meet the state, district, and school level requirements of planning, grading, and data-collecting to document growth. I am hoping that the approaching school year will bring about more conversation from those of us in similar classroom settings.

    I have many students for 2 - 4 years consecutively, but I also have students who come and go quickly. My students are amazing and capable of so much, and I have watched them grow in their thinking and in their self confidence and passion for learning. It feels like a long road to get to a place where I feel I am doing a great job. I am doing my best, and my students are learning, but it is a work in progress.

    I am interested to know of any professional development specifically for multi grade classrooms.

    I find in math, students levels are much more diverse than in ELA. It is challenging to learn the Common Core State Standards for three grades and come up with effective lessons for each. The time constraints are also difficult to work within. I rely on my paraprofessionals to work with small groups in math. I have tried different methods. Here are two:
    1. I rotate groups between all three teachers (me and 2 paras) on a daily basis. This helps me know where each group is, but it also makes it difficult for me to communicate with the paraprofessionals about how students are doing, or to pick up where they left off the day before.
    2. Each teacher works with one group for a week, and then we switch.

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  12. I have a 4 year old daughter with autism and we had a meeting with her prek teacher, the special ed director and several other teachers to talk about kindergarten. the special ed teacher at the local elementary school said that my child can't go there until she can sit in the lunch room and eat(she doesn't like to leave class once she gets in there so she eats lunch in the classroom. the only option i was given was for her to be placed in a class with (this year) 10 students and 4 adults. the students are all boys kindergarten - 7th grade. when i asked if i could observe the class i was told no(along with being looked at like i was crazy for not just going along with it) i don't want my daughter in this class so i pretty much can move or homeschool i know but I'm wondering if i have any legal rights as far as school placement for her or anything of that nature. we are in Georgia if that matters.

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    Replies
    1. Brittany, I am so sorry that you are having a difficult time with your school. As a parent, you do have rights. Here is a link to the parent rights in GA. You can also find more information about special ed services in GA by going to the GA Dept. of Education Homepage. I hope you can find an agreeable compromise for your daughter's sake.

      http://www.gadoe.org/Curriculum-Instruction-and-Assessment/Special-Education-Services/Pages/Parent-Rights.aspx

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