Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Writing Programs for Special Education Students

If you're anything like me at all, you struggle with how to teach children to write.  Writing is hard.  There are a million rules to learn and most of them never made sense to me as a kid.  I was good at memorizing and was able to skim by.  As a teacher, I read as much as I can about teaching writing.  Since all of my students have some type of learning disability, writing is often a painful subject for all of us.

Until now, that is.  I spent my entire summer working and revising a writing curriculum that would fit my kids.  It offers lots of repetition and each skill builds on previous skills.  I have laid out the skills in such a way that it  makes sense to my kids.  And best of all, it is no prep (other than printing and grabbing chart paper.)  How awesome is that!

We started the first week of school working on how to write a basic sentence and complete/fragments.    This is the anchor chart that we created.  We added a bit to it each day.  We also learned about nouns.   We created a noun anchor chart to help with spelling and generating ideas.  On Friday, we went back and circled the nouns in the "who" part of our sentence.

 Week two we added a new part to our chart, "where?".  I ask the kids, "Who?" and they give me a noun.  Then, I would prompt the kids with, "Did what?" and they would give me a verb/verb phrase.  "Where" and we filled in the last part of the chart.  We would go back and read the whole sentence to make sure it made sense.

We also spent the week adding as many verbs to our anchor chart as possible.

We also made an anchor chart with "where" words.  (I LOVE my anchor charts!!)

I line up my anchor charts in this order: nouns, verbs, where/when.  This allows us to find a word from each chart to write a complete sentence.  This helps my students who really struggle with writing.

Week three, we talked about adding when things happen into our sentences.  This is the anchor chart at the beginning of the week.  (I didn't get a picture at the end of the week.)  The daily lessons have the class brainstorm as many different ways to tell when as possible.  For example, one day the students have to make a list that tells when they change clothes.  We came up with answers such as after school, before bed, and after my shower.  This really helped my kids know that they didn't need to state a specific time to tell when.

 Week four, we added in adjectives.   We continued with the same process that we have been doing each day.  (I added my adjective anchor chart before my noun anchor chart on the board. ) Look how much our sentences have grown.

Each lesson begins with a warm up.  The students are expected to label each part of the sentence that we have already learned.  Here are some examples of my students' work from last week.  (This is 7 of the 9 students in my writing group.  2 were absent.) I had them label the sentences independently.  I read the sentences aloud and said, "Divide your sentence between your subject and predicate.  Mark your nouns.  How many nouns are in this sentence?  Mark your verb.  What did you do?  Mark your adjectives.  Look at your nouns for a hint.  Underline your prepositional phrase.  Remember where or when?"  These were the only prompts I gave my kids.  I think this is AMAZING progress!!  At the beginning of the year, only 1-2 kids knew what a noun was and now they are identifying nouns, verbs, adjectives, and prepositional phrases!

If you are interested to see if this special education writing program will work for your kids, you can get a full two-week sample to try for free.  


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