This week has really been a change of gears for me. I started doing lesson plans for my writing/handwriting group, and though they are similar the “Learning Experience” (section describing step in the lesson) is different each day. This was a good learning experience to preplan and think about every section of the lesson and how long I would take. I am building on this by starting to plan for two separate subjects this next week, writing/handwriting and math.
My handwriting group is fairly diverse including to students who actually need work on their letter formation and spacing, and three others who work mostly on writing subjects and brainstorming. This is not to say that they are easily split into a high/low group because one of the students working on handwriting/letters writes one of the most content driven sentences, but has extremely challenging fine motor skills and wasn’t even able to hold a pencil a year ago. Even more interesting is that even though he has great content in his sentences, he has very little comprehension because he relies on his amazing rote memorization of facts. This really shows why I need to use individual and differentiated instruction with this group. Like any group of students they each have strengths and weaknesses, but they are far more polarized and extreme in these groups, which is not always apparent at first.
My math class is a different level and group than writing, and they have more academic and behavioral challenges. This requires more supervision and direct instruction. We use several methods to keep them engaged, such as co-teaching and breaking into two groups. Sometimes if one student is having particularly disruptive behavior (constant screaming, defiance, pencil stabbing) then we will work with that student individually as long as their Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) show that this is not the desired result for the behavior. I am using the long form SPU lesson plan for this Monday class to get more practice at it since I will be using it for my teaching performance assessment (TPA) next month.
Though the workload is increasing it was a good week. I received some instructive recommendations about my handwriting class, so I started to implement more practical writing practice and individual work time. It seemed like almost everyone (students, teachers, myself) were sick over the last few weeks, so hopefully everyone is on the mend and this next week will be even better.