2015-2016 Challenge

As the 2014-2015 school year comes to an end, I am busy beginning to plan for 2015-2016.  You think there'd be a break, but nope not happening.

This next school year I will teach one of the hardest classes yet.  Due to school size and teacher classifications I will in essences be teaching SPED Math.  Since I am a general ed teacher it will include a SPED assistant and a handful of non-IEP students who essentially need additional help in math.   While I know grouping as such is frowned upon by many we were left with few choices in order to give students electives still and to get them the math help they need.

With that I am trying to plan out what will help them be successful.  (Many of the students grouped into this class struggle to write efficiently and legibly.  Some also struggle with basic reading, but many have had success in math this year at a greater rate than Language Arts)  The class will consist of 13-18 students and will have me instructing, an instructional aid, and at times the SPED teacher. (A 1 to 5 Ratio at the most).

Things I am considering and pondering to help students be successful:
1) Manipulatives - This is a must. Students will need to create math. Many will do best moving them around to create answers since writing is limited and usually avoided.

2) Warm Ups - Not 100% sure how to hold them accountable. I am thinking about index cards on a ring.  1 per day for the trimester.

3) Not losing work - Many middle school students struggle with organization, knowing the students from this year I know this will be an issue. For me this is what I lack for 6th graders is forcing them to organize.  I am moving rooms so each student will have a mail slot. Most "stuff" will not leave the room.

4) White board Tables - All installed this year students will have ample time to show work and be encouraged to.

5) Seating Charts, Motivation, and Behavior - All will at some point become issues. The class is 5 to 10 girls to boys. Students will need to be successful early to get them to buy in.

6) Word Problems / Deeper Thinking - Getting students to attempt to overcome dilemmas and try to solve a problem including word problems.  I know a few of these students are excellent manipulators.  They will beg, plead, and ask 1,000 questions just to get the answer out of me in a round about way.

7) In Class HW Time - Find material that is not "scary."  I typically have used Oregon Focus, but it is poorly aligned to CCSS and is not rigorous enough. This year I used some Engage NY, but I know this is also at a very rigorous level and may not work as a first attempt at a new lesson.

Last but not least in my long list of things...
(OK probably not the last, but what my brain is thinking today)
8) Remediation - Learning old skills and trying to keep up with the pace for new skills. With 80% class grade on assessments, something will have to be built into the schedule to help those struggling stay caught up.


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