Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Working with Children with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities

I'm currently reading an article called "Prove Them Wrong: Be There for Secondary Students with an Emotional or Behavioral Disability".  I LOVE being a teacher and I LOVE working with all students... general education, special education, preschool, high school... I don't care I just love to teach.  This article talks about my favorite population of children though, those with emotional disabilities.

The article starts by discussing how much these children have gone through in their short lives.  The majority of these kids have been through quite a lot.  Many children have been abused, move constantly, or have had loved ones turn their back on them.  The most important thing in interacting with these students is to develop a strong relationship with them.  The more you know them, the easier it is to get them to follow directions,  motivate them, and make a difference.  It's important that educators constantly read the student's body language and respond appropriately.  They need to listen to what they are saying and what they are not saying.  Teachers really need to care and show that they care.

Secondly, it's important that teachers carry themselves with confidence around these students.  Time and time again I have seen educators frustrated when a student won't follow directions yet their body language is telling the student that they're scared of them and don't think they'll listen.  Be confident, build a relationship, and you can change their behavior!  Teachers really have no need to be scared, in most cases, when they hear they are getting a student with ED/BD.  Relationships and confidence is all you need for appropriate behavior management!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Developing a Classroom Management Plan Using a Tiered Approach

From the newest "Teaching Exceptional Children" comes an article by Kristin L. Sayeski and Monica R. Brown that may seem common sense, but provides a nice checklist for teachers in preparing a classroom that is well managed.

Preventing problem behavior is a lot easier than stopping it once it has occurred.  All teachers should 1) have high expectations, 2) plan stimulating instruction, 3) clearly communicate rules, procedures, and expectations, 4) establish routines and procedures, 5) support positive behaviors, and 6) use their time well.  In my mind, number 6 means pacing.  You need to keep an appropriate pace so that students do not have time to misbehave.

Tier 2: First-line Interventions
These include planned ignoring, signals such as turning off the lights, getting students engaged, individualized attention, instructional support, token economies, moving students to new seats, changing activities, etc.

Tier 3: Intensive Individualized Interventions
Conduct a FBA and determine the appropriate response. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teaching Reading to Black Adolescent Males

Today I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Dr. Alfred Tatum speak on engaging black males in the area of reading.  He is the author of many books including Reading for their Life, Teaching Reading to Black Adolescent Males, among others.  Dr. Tatum is a professor at University of Chicago.  I think it's important to share what I learned for those who have not been able to hear him speak before.

  • Students read the human text before they will read any other text.  Your body language, attitude toward teaching, and way you treat students is of vital importance.
  • Reading and the life context of your students needs to be considered together.  The texts that are selected need to engage readers- you can't simply select books based on their reading level.
  • To elaborate on the point above, the text worked on in class should make your students better readers and teach them something.  It's helpful to use nonfiction texts and/or fiction books that expand students' schemas.  Students should think differently after working on a text.
  • When presenting text to students, Dr. Tatum always starts with introducing the title of the work, selecting an engaging sentence or paragraph to read aloud, and asking engaging questions that get students thinking on a deep level.
  • After completing the above step, Dr. Tatum will introduce vocabulary, work on comprehension through reading the story, and finally extend the story to allow students to process the information at a higher level.
  • Dr. Tatum believes in combining fiction and nonfiction texts within lessons.
  • Your students should see you reading and writing.  If they are working, they need to see it is something that you value as well.
  • Finally, YOU should be transformed by the text you put in front of students.  If the text does not make you think or change your schema, it should not be put in front of students.

Friday, August 19, 2011


This year is a NEW year where I will embark on a CHALLENGE, a challenge to CO-TEACH 100% of the time! How will this impact student learning? How will I grow and develop as a teacher? How can I make this work really well?

Jane M. Sileo stressed how important it is for special education teachers to know the curriculum. When teachers know the curriculum, they can more confidently participate in lessons. They should have common plan time to plan lessons together and discuss how things are going.  It's important they constantly review how things are going and communicate.

Co-Teaching Methods
1. One Teach, One Observe—when one teacher is responsible for whole
group instruction while the other teacher observes the students and gathers
information on their academic, social, and behavioral skills. This co-teaching
structure allows co-teachers an opportunity to gather information about
their students, and each other as well.

2. Parallel Teaching—when the co-teachers place the students into two equal
groups and each teacher simultaneously teaches the same material to his or
her small group. The benefit of this co-teaching structure is that it allows
for increased teacher interaction and student participation as well as differentiation
of instruction.

3. Station Teaching—when the co-teachers arrange the students into two or
three equal groups, and the students rotate through each of the instructional
stations. In this structure, the stations should not build on one another, but
rather be nonsequential. The advantage of this co-teaching structure is that
it also allows for increased teacher and student interactions.

4. Alternative Teaching—when one teacher teaches the whole group and the
other teacher teaches a small group of students. The grouping for this structure
should change according to students’ needs. This co-teaching structure
allows either teacher the opportunity to teach (e.g., remediation, preteaching,
vocabulary development, and enrichment activities) for a short period
of time.

5. One Teach, One Assist—when one teacher instructs the whole group and
the other teacher assists individual students. The co-teaching structure
allows the drifting teacher the opportunity to provide brief periods of individualized
instruction to students who may be struggling with the academic

6. Team Teaching—when both teachers deliver instruction simultaneously to
a large group of students. This structure affords the team teachers the
chance to interact with the students. It also provides them with an opportunity
to ask clarification questions of one another, thereby eliminating the
potential confusion in instruction.
(Taken from "Co-Teaching: Getting to Know your Partner" by Jane M. Sileo)