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Old 12-09-2011, 07:18 AM
 
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Question for nana:

Please try to be objective and see if you can answer this: if your grandchild was a regular student in the class and not the mainstreamed one, can you tell me how you would feel if your regular grandchild was losing instruction because a mainstream needed more help?
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
While all kids exhibit some behaviors associated with SpEd kids, as a teacher, I can tell you you can mutliply by 10 when you have a class with more than 3 or 4 SpEd kids. I have one with 12. There are days when very little teaching gets done. I've had my regular students come to me and ask me to start kicking kids out of the class so they can learn. The problem with SpEd kids is that if one person does something, so do the others. If one person makes a funny noise, 6 others follow suit...If one talks out of turn, I have 12 talking out of turn....Then I'm stopping what we're doing and spending the next 5 minutes getting the class back on task. They feed off of each other's negative behaviors. It's like they're just looking for an opportunity to do something or say something. As soon as one does, it's like an erruption. They figure I can't send them all to the office and, I suspect, they think that because they are SpEd, they should get a pass. I have threatened to give the entire class detention and probably will have to do so before long because the threat is no good if I don't follow through. I feel bad for my regular ed kids in this class. They don't deserve this.
You should not have 12 special needs kids in a single classroom. That's too many. But then, I believe that having more than 20 children in an elementary school classroom is too much to begin with.

Your administration is being unfair putting that many children with problems in any single classroom.
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Old 12-09-2011, 10:46 AM
 
15,743 posts, read 13,167,427 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
Yep. It changes the experience for the better, imo.

1. Kids learn to accept that differences are not *bad*

2. Children become competent to help each other.

3. The child with the disability can help other children - for example, my grandson is extremely bright in math and can help others learn that.

4. It forces teachers to be more creative and to individualize the work. That benefits *all* the students.

5. If there is an aide in the classroom, that aide often is involved with all the kids, not just the special needs kids, so all the kids get more attention.

6. It forces the teacher to make the classroom more positive.

There are big challenges, but bigger rewards.

MOM - Not Otherwise Specified: A toast to inclusion: Autism education in the classroom

This is way to general to be true.

SpEd kids are just as (if not more) varied that other kids. Saying that they are always a positive force is ignoring reality.

I have had SpEd kids at the school I teach in now, including Autistic and Aspergers kids. Generally, they are just kids. Only one time has it been a particular positive experience for the other kid, most of the time neutral and several times negative. Like every other experience in life.

I will say our current Freshman class has more kids with 504 than we have had the entire other 7 years I have been at the school and we are beginning to see real problems. Several of these parents have complained that there is too much homework and tried to get IEPs that would undermine our program. Maybe we are in a unique position because we are a public school of choice (meaning kids can and sometimes do go back to their home high schools) but I do not know what we are supposed to do as a school.

One parent has asked that the child be given one on one tutoring everyday after school for 2 hours. Another has asked that special tests be written for her child and that they get unlimited time to complete them. The demands being made are going to completely undermine our program. Aside from the fundamental "fairness" issue I am truly concerned about the fact that this could harm our reputation (meaning that graduating with a diploma from our school would no longer mean what it has) and then all of the students would suffer for it. I want to level the playing field, but not at the cost of the field itself.
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Old 12-09-2011, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,697,018 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
You should not have 12 special needs kids in a single classroom. That's too many. But then, I believe that having more than 20 children in an elementary school classroom is too much to begin with.

Your administration is being unfair putting that many children with problems in any single classroom.
I teach high school. This is not uncommon. It's cost effective to have team taught classes have as many special ed kids as they can hold. We just don't have the money to have team taught classes with 3 or 4 SpEd kids. So the class has a dozen (or maybe more, I let the SpEd teacher (the coteacher in a team taught class) handle that aspect. I just follow her lead. I'm the subject matter expert. She knows what the kids need.

Having half of a class of 24 be SpEd students is WAY better than having 12 in a class of 36 with NO CO-TEACHER!!!! (the class sizes there dropped to something in the upper 20's because so many parents pulled their kids within the first few months but those early weeks set the tone for the year and 36 kids is horrible without special ed kids in the room) ... which is what happened at the charter school I taught at. Part of the reason they fired me was my failure to control this class. I had two classes that were half special ed kids. I only had a co-teacher in one of them because the SpEd teacher was needed in another classroom that hour. That was the class from hell. That class convinced me I never wanted to teach again. If I'd had any other job offer on the table when the job I have now came along, I would have taken it. And they wonder why most new teachers quit to go to work in another profession within 5 years....
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Old 12-09-2011, 05:11 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,697,018 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuffaloTransplant View Post
Question for nana:

Please try to be objective and see if you can answer this: if your grandchild was a regular student in the class and not the mainstreamed one, can you tell me how you would feel if your regular grandchild was losing instruction because a mainstream needed more help?
This is a VERY good question. My students come to me and complain that they can't learn because of all the disruptions. Even with two teachers in the room, classroom management is a nightmare.
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Old 12-10-2011, 07:19 AM
 
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I just wanted to add here that I've observe many students with IEPs do just fine in a regular classroom as long as their behavior was not disruptive and their IEP driven accommodations were reasonable such as seated in the front of the room so they are not as bothered by distractions and can focus better on the teacher and their work, a quiet test taking environment, audio versions of the text books, recording of class lectures, copies of class notes... typically the accommodations that are available at college.

Countless students and their parents are dismayed to discover that colleges will not provide or even allow many of the accommodations that helped students complete high school. For example, there is no modifications of the curriculum or the tests. All students have to demonstrate their mastery of the material otherwise the degree would mean nothing to potential employers.

I used to regularly meet with a group of college Disability Coordinators and one of their laments was that students who were not academically prepared nor behaviorally appropriate were enrolled and their parents and guardians were frantic to get the accommodations that had been in place in public school.

After several semesters of not meeting even minimal expectations, these students were suspended. So there they were, no closer to earning a living than before they enrolled, often barred from getting Pell grants until they paid back money that had been spent on courses they didn't complete, and all too often, needing to pay back college loans. It's a mess.

Professors would be calling the Disability Coordinators demanding they to do something about students who were asking the same questions over and over or being silly in class. Other students were complaining that they were paying good money for this nonsense and someone needed to put a stop to it.

Last edited by PatRoy1; 12-10-2011 at 08:43 AM..
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Old 12-10-2011, 11:09 AM
 
15,287 posts, read 16,828,849 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
This is a VERY good question. My students come to me and complain that they can't learn because of all the disruptions. Even with two teachers in the room, classroom management is a nightmare.
Then the teachers need to get a handle on the distractions. It is NOT the special needs child's fault.


Expectations should be laid out at the beginning of the year.

Teachers can use visual cues and supports to clarify expectations.

Scaffolding can be used to offer student supports at every stage of the learning process - it helps if there is an aide, but if not, then perhaps student aides can be used. Peer reading is often very effective. Having two children work on a cooperative activity can help as long as the students are carefully matched
.
Using activities that relate to student learning styles, interests and multiple intelligences can help to keep students engaged.

Often the room needs to be rearranged. Arrange the learning environment in a way that facilitates student learning while at the same time allowing the teacher to observe and control the class. This will differ from class to class and from year to year.

Plan with your particular students in mind. Always have more activities than necessary so that you keep the kids engaged.

Let kids who are disruptive know without embarrassing them. You may need to set up a signal at the beginning of the year that lets a student know they are being disruptive. Amazingly, special needs kids often don't realize they are being too loud (they don't do it deliberately).

Acknowledge positive behavior in all students. It does not have to be a tangible reward. One of the best high school teachers my ds had walked around the classroom while the kids were working. If he saw a student working hard, especially one who was getting a new approach to a problem, he would set a statue of The Thinker on the student's desk. The kids loved it and he did not have to say anything.

Special Ed students (especially those with autism) may misunderstand your body language. Don't assume they understand when you glare at them. They may really not recognize the signs that you are angry with them. You may need to use the same techniques you would use with a child who doesn't understand English well with your autistic children. It helps if *you* have techniques like signing and picture cues at your disposal. One of the best kindergarten teachers I knew taught sign language because it really helped all the students learn the relationship between letters and communication. She taught letter spelling as well as ASL.

You have to be creative and come up with ways that will make your classroom a true learning environment.
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Old 12-10-2011, 04:27 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,697,018 times
Reputation: 14495
Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
Then the teachers need to get a handle on the distractions. It is NOT the special needs child's fault.


Expectations should be laid out at the beginning of the year.

Teachers can use visual cues and supports to clarify expectations.

Scaffolding can be used to offer student supports at every stage of the learning process - it helps if there is an aide, but if not, then perhaps student aides can be used. Peer reading is often very effective. Having two children work on a cooperative activity can help as long as the students are carefully matched
.
Using activities that relate to student learning styles, interests and multiple intelligences can help to keep students engaged.

Often the room needs to be rearranged. Arrange the learning environment in a way that facilitates student learning while at the same time allowing the teacher to observe and control the class. This will differ from class to class and from year to year.

Plan with your particular students in mind. Always have more activities than necessary so that you keep the kids engaged.

Let kids who are disruptive know without embarrassing them. You may need to set up a signal at the beginning of the year that lets a student know they are being disruptive. Amazingly, special needs kids often don't realize they are being too loud (they don't do it deliberately).

Acknowledge positive behavior in all students. It does not have to be a tangible reward. One of the best high school teachers my ds had walked around the classroom while the kids were working. If he saw a student working hard, especially one who was getting a new approach to a problem, he would set a statue of The Thinker on the student's desk. The kids loved it and he did not have to say anything.

Special Ed students (especially those with autism) may misunderstand your body language. Don't assume they understand when you glare at them. They may really not recognize the signs that you are angry with them. You may need to use the same techniques you would use with a child who doesn't understand English well with your autistic children. It helps if *you* have techniques like signing and picture cues at your disposal. One of the best kindergarten teachers I knew taught sign language because it really helped all the students learn the relationship between letters and communication. She taught letter spelling as well as ASL.

You have to be creative and come up with ways that will make your classroom a true learning environment.
Have you ever taught a team taught class??


I challenge YOU to teach a class with just 5 or 6 special ed students in it. It takes more than visual cues and scaffolding to get my team taught class on task. It takes, constant, policing and resorting to kicking kids out of my class. I have to tell them, several times a class period, that "THIS is NOT acceptable behavior!!!"...give it 5 minutes and they're doing the same thing again. What you are suggesting might work with one student but not with 12 or even half that number. How much time in one class period should be devoted to an individual student's behavior issues when there are 23 other students in the class and some of them actually want to learn rather than just disrupt the class? And you do realize that while I'm dealing with that one student the others are having a free for all, right? The SECOND I'm not policing the room, they're off task. You are also assuming the student wants to control the behavior problem. If they didn't have six others join in once they start (IMO this encourages the negative behavior), they might but they seem to like the attention they get when they distrupt class.

This is the second time I've taught a team taught class and it's same story different day...same disruptions, same slow pace, same complaints of kids who want to learn that the other kids are preventing them from learning and they are (which BTW results in bitterness and anger towards the SpEd kids). I put 80% of my effort into the SpEd kids JUST trying to get through the hour with everyone able to hear me (they like to shout out answers or off topic questions and once one does it, six join in. Then I have to stop, and call the class to order and we lose a couple of minutes before we can continue.). I'm sorry but you can't sit through a 50 minute class, YOU DON"T BELONG IN THE CLASS!!!

I'd love to make this class a true learning environment like my classes that don't have special ed kids in them are. I've come to the conclusion you can't have both. The co taught class will pace slower than a non co taught class. Either that or I have to lower the bar by covering less material. I have two lower level chemistry classes. I give the other one activities to do all the time because they're too far ahead of this class. I cut out activities in this class to stay on the same pace with the other class. The kids complain when I cut out labs but I don't have a choice as I can't have my other class twiddling their thumbs for three days while this class catches up. Unfortunately, many SpEd kids have been raised to believe that their issues should be excused. I can't complain to the parents about their behavior because I get told they have an IEP. Apparently, that's a license to disrupt class.

BTW, my co teacher is an expert at behavior management. That's why she's there. Even with two of us, it's difficult to keep the class on task and most of our energy is spent doing just that. I'd love to teach as much as I can in my non team taught class but I can't. I can't teach over 12 students talking, shouting out answers, etc, etc, etc... It doesn't work.

IMO, behavior issues should be addressed before these kids are put in a regular classroom. It is just not fair to everyone else. In team taught classes, the shear numbers of SpEd kids is an issue and there's nothing we can do about that because of the cost to have a coteacher in the room. If they cut in half the number of SpEd kids in every classroom, they'd have to double the number of SpEd teachers and they are paid top dollar here.

Last edited by Ivorytickler; 12-10-2011 at 05:39 PM..
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Old 12-10-2011, 05:29 PM
 
701 posts, read 1,478,663 times
Reputation: 788
Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
Then the teachers need to get a handle on the distractions. It is NOT the special needs child's fault.


Expectations should be laid out at the beginning of the year.

Teachers can use visual cues and supports to clarify expectations.

Scaffolding can be used to offer student supports at every stage of the learning process - it helps if there is an aide, but if not, then perhaps student aides can be used. Peer reading is often very effective. Having two children work on a cooperative activity can help as long as the students are carefully matched
.
Using activities that relate to student learning styles, interests and multiple intelligences can help to keep students engaged.

Often the room needs to be rearranged. Arrange the learning environment in a way that facilitates student learning while at the same time allowing the teacher to observe and control the class. This will differ from class to class and from year to year.

Plan with your particular students in mind. Always have more activities than necessary so that you keep the kids engaged.

Let kids who are disruptive know without embarrassing them. You may need to set up a signal at the beginning of the year that lets a student know they are being disruptive. Amazingly, special needs kids often don't realize they are being too loud (they don't do it deliberately).

Acknowledge positive behavior in all students. It does not have to be a tangible reward. One of the best high school teachers my ds had walked around the classroom while the kids were working. If he saw a student working hard, especially one who was getting a new approach to a problem, he would set a statue of The Thinker on the student's desk. The kids loved it and he did not have to say anything.

Special Ed students (especially those with autism) may misunderstand your body language. Don't assume they understand when you glare at them. They may really not recognize the signs that you are angry with them. You may need to use the same techniques you would use with a child who doesn't understand English well with your autistic children. It helps if *you* have techniques like signing and picture cues at your disposal. One of the best kindergarten teachers I knew taught sign language because it really helped all the students learn the relationship between letters and communication. She taught letter spelling as well as ASL.

You have to be creative and come up with ways that will make your classroom a true learning environment.
I am just astounded at reading this. I've been in classrooms where the teacher would not dare to set out a statue of The Thinker as someone was sure to get beaned in the back of the head with it before the class was over.

And to using other student as aides, I think we've covered this territory sufficiently. I understand why teachers pair up regular students with SpEd students. Good grief, can you imagine a lab class with 24 SpEd students doing Lord knows what?

While some students may not realize they are being disruptive or simply cannot help themselves, my observation is that many are disruptive intentionally. It's fun. The boys in particular often get a huge kick out of it. Plus, disruptive behavior can be a reprieve from work that is difficult and frustrating.

I so appreciate your posts Nana53. Clearly you are standing up for your grandson and looking for solutions and good for you. I think many parents of children with special needs would agree with you completely, that the world has to change to meet their needs of the children.

Oh, if only that were so.
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Old 12-10-2011, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,393 posts, read 29,697,018 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatRoy1 View Post
I am just astounded at reading this. I've been in classrooms where the teacher would not dare to set out a statue of The Thinker as someone was sure to get beaned in the back of the head with it before the class was over.

And to using other student as aides, I think we've covered this territory sufficiently. I understand why teachers pair up regular students with SpEd students. Good grief, can you imagine a lab class with 24 SpEd students doing Lord knows what?

While some students may not realize they are being disruptive or simply cannot help themselves, my observation is that many are disruptive intentionally. It's fun. The boys in particular often get a huge kick out of it. Plus, disruptive behavior can be a reprieve from work that is difficult and frustrating.

I so appreciate your posts Nana53. Clearly you are standing up for your grandson and looking for solutions and good for you. I think many parents of children with special needs would agree with you completely, that the world has to change to meet their needs of the children.

Oh, if only that were so.
Unfortunately, for these kids, who have come up through a system that has catered to their issues, life will not do so. When you go to college, or trade school, they will not tolerate disruptive behavior nor will they give you a special verson of the test. When employed, you either do the job or you're fired. In many ways, I think we are setting these kids up for a fall. What are they going to do once they are released into a world that will not cater to their special needs?
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