All students have learning needs that can be termed “special”. Every person has a unique blend of individual learning styles and strategically approaches tasks through different avenues. The primary reason that I developed my “multi-age” program was to more effectively reach these various learning styles. I propose that if someone is labeled with a Learning Disability, working closely with the Instructional Specialist is imperative. An Individual Development Plan will assist in creating an instructional map that will simultaneously aid the student and educator in the general education classroom.
Reading instruction is designed around small group, cooperative and partner activities within my classroom. Pairing students with peers who are more confident and have a firmer grasp of the material allows these children to feel more successful in completing the activity. Seeing their classmates as a role model provides a glimmer of hope in the struggling child’s mind. It can immediately elevate their goals higher and allows them to see reading mastery as an achievable objective.
In the beginning of the year, my reading instruction is centered on teaching children how to find their “just right” book. It doesn’t matter what level they are at, reading strategies can still be taught. I structure guided reading groups based on children who need additional assistance with a particular reading strategy. It would not be uncommon to have five different children all in a different book practicing the identical strategy.
In math, I model frequently. Again, I perform many small group, cooperative and partner activities. All math lessons are taught through Everyday Math and provide hands-on experiences with manipulatives. For my struggling math students, I have a Para-educator work with them on the targeted skill. The objective is not necessarily to complete the pages in the book that class is focusing on collectively. I will also hi-light problems I want them to complete independently that will solely be based on an area of strength so that they do not always feel defeated and subsequently work with me on the areas that may require more guided assistance.
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