Thursday, October 21, 2010

things looking up and tomorrow's friday! yay!

my plan for the special ed department was approved, however it couldn't be implemented because of our block scheduling, unless the AP of instructional support taught 10 periods a week. my principal gave me two options:

1) bring in a retired sped teacher for $3000+ per session for the year (she said she'd find the money)
2) receive more training and support from our AP and outside sources and keep it as it is.

I discussed it with my team and we decided on option two. We made the ICT class our subject of inquiry study this year, and discussed strategies in depth. We are going to structure a continuum between all of our classes. Two teachers made phone calls to all the parents and I held a parental conference with one of the difficult children. And we've been ignoring the poor behaviors whenever possible and acknowledging the positive behaviors with tons of praise.

They whipped their butts into shape and have been amazing for the past two days. All we need is ten minutes of their attention for instruction and they just fly with it.

today after the warmup (which they all did!) i taught them how to do two step equations. we had planned on them practicing equations, breaking, and then moving back to instruction to break down word problems, then having them practice again. i had 2 different levels of problems prepared.

what happened at first is that two kids found the lesson to be too easy. my co-teacher gave them a scaffolded workbook that let them advance to the next level independently. after the kids started their individual practice, some wanted the advanced book, too, so they worked extra hard on their problems. then other kids just raced through so i gave them the word problems sheet. some kids finished more quickly than others so i plucked them from their seats around the room and grouped them together to create their own challenging word problem on chart paper, with the corresponding equation and solution.

by the end of the class, 6 kids had successfully worked on a worksheet of two step equations of varying degrees of difficulty. four kids had worked through the workbook section on combining like terms and mutistep equations. 4 other kids had begun working through word problems successfully. and six kids worked in 2 groups to create their own challenge word problems with equations on chart paper. to top it all off, the most ED kid in the group agreed to sit outside for concentration's sake and did quite well.

they all ended up doing different things naturally, but the bottom line, they were all able to solve the two step equations. it was the best lesson all year, and it was naturally so differentiated without much planning.

i'm hoping for continued good results, but i know there will always be ups and downs.

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