“If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.”
-- Ignacio Estrada

About my classroom

My classroom is quite a special place. I have the opportunity to work with a very diverse student population. 

The classroom is multi-grade special education classroom including grades 3-5. Disabilities range from low and high functioning Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, genetic disorders, and developmental disabilities. For the majority of the students, verbal communication can be a challenge; however, they express themselves in many other ways. (Check out the technology page for what AAC we are using.)
The students are challenged each day. All of the students spend some time within the general education classroom. In there, the activities are adapted and modified to create a successful environment. 

During the time in my classroom, the students are a part of a reading and math group. They participate in structured motor room activities to develop gross motor skills. They participate in daily calendar activities that focus on days of the week, months of the year, and weather. They also complete both independent and 1-1 work focusing on specific IEP goals. The students are also taught to work independently by completing activities at their individual work station through a modified version of the TEACCH system. Hands on and sensory activities are also incorporated throughout the day.

Themed group activities are also a part of the day. During this time, themes are based on grade level standards and/or monthly themes and activities are differentiated according to the IEP goals/objectives. 

Technology plays a pivotal role within the classroom. It allows the students to access content and activities that may not have been available in other forms. The classroom technologies allows ALL students to be active participants in the classroom and feel a part of the group. The SMART Board plays an active role in many of our daily lessons (once we get it get it up and running!). SMART Board lessons are created to enhance the curriculum and focus on students' IEP goals/objectives.  The SMART Board has been a great asset to our classroom. The iPad also plays an important role within the classroom. It's diverse uses allows it to be used as a communication device, a tool to teach skills, a tool to assess skills, and a tool of creation for the students to demonstrate how creative they can be.

Expectations for my classroom

There are many things you should expect from your child. He/She will be getting older, working hard, gaining a love for learning, and achieving much success. Here are some things to expect from this year as a whole.
  • Expect high expectations for ALL students. Misconceptions and/or preconceptions of a child are left at the door. I meet the child where he/she is performing and I push him/her to achieve more. Obviously, I follow the goals on the IEP; however, throughout the year I will set additional “unofficial” goals for the child to work on as well.
  • Expect communication. In my classroom, I stress communication in all aspects. I stress the home/school communication. With the teacher and parents on the same page, the students can achieve much more. To assist in the home/school part, a “communication notebook” will be used so that we can easily write notes back and forth regarding your child. I also stress the communication of the students. When looking at the skills children are going to need to succeed, I list communication high on the list. Because of this, communication is stressed during ALL parts of the day.
  • Expect both curricular and functional academics. The curriculum is integrated from a variety of sources - the grade level curriculum standards, IEP goals, and functional activities. I take all these source into account when I plan lessons for the classroom.
  • Expect FUN! The last aspect to my classroom (but definitely not least) is FUN! If the students can’t see school as fun and they do not have the love of learning, then their success will be limited. An element of FUN is included into various aspects of the school day. This may include your child getting a little messy. So, please understand that fun sometimes equals dirty clothes.