Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Back to School Differentiation and a Freebie

I think one of the biggest challenges as a teacher is making sure that you meet the needs of all students in a variety of ways.  As a teacher of young children (7 and 8 year olds) part of my joy is seeing the constant growth and "light bulb" moments along the way.  At times those moments make sense and at other times it will surprise me.  I love the time it takes to create a class contract (pic above) and it reminds me of all that my students are taking on, but also what I'm taking on along with them.  

As a general ed teacher (or teacher of almost all subjects in some way) our challenge lies in having to become an "expert" in all areas.  We need to know all we can about academics, but we also need to know how to support a classroom community that runs smoothly with consistent and loving structure, partner with parents thoughtfully, get to know each child, and have FUN.....(frankly the list goes on and on, but I figured it might take too long) :)

We all have students we work with that challenge us and push us to strengthen our teaching.  It's those moments when we realize that what we have planned doesn't work for that child.  We go back to the drawing board, consult with our colleagues, experts in special education, administrators, professional development workshops and anything else we can do to support the child.  Those are the children that keep us up at night as we try to think of a new way to support them.  Yet, when we have those moments where we see the seed that was planted has taken root and they have had their "lightbulb" moment (however small or large) we know that we will do whatever it takes to work to create those moments for them again.  
As I think ahead (just a little...it's still too far away to be out of summer mode yet) to those children I get to teach I decided to put together some resources that have worked for me in the classroom.  They don't always work, but they are in my "basket of tools".  Some of the things my colleagues and I have used over the years and are in the file:

-brain breaks for individuals and the group
-resources and articles to build a "calming caddy" (a.k.a. box of fidgets)
-behavior management plans with implementation ideas, weekly and/or daily scoring sheets, and samples 
-visual direction cards
-check-in and check-out visual sheets for their desks (which I've put up as a FREEBIE on TpT)
I hope they're useful and if you have any feedback about it I'd love to hear.  I'm always open to learning about new things and adding to my box of "tools".  The only reason I made this file was because I knew how useful it is to have something easy I can print off and use when it's needed rather than create it from scratch.  :)  

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