I’m still in a state of confusion. It’s January 1, 2016, and I don’t have an answer. I started a blog to encourage reading and writing. Then recently, if you read my last post, I was wondering if I should focus more on special needs. So, until things become clearer for me, I have decided to do both.
I am a special education teacher teaching English to students with learning disabilities in high school. This is what I know. This year, I thought I would include ideas, lesson plans, and reflections about my classes, which focus on reading and writing.
Feel free to comment on what I am doing, add suggestions, and ask questions. I would appreciate your help teaching the wonderful students that I have.
Let me give you the background of my students. I teach a 10th grade World Literature class, 11th grade American Literature class, and a 12th grade British Literature class. Yes, I teach literature to special needs students. To be more honest, we read some literature, but we READ and WRITE a lot. This is the run-down for next semester:
10th – We will start each day with vocabulary strategies. I usually start with prefixes, suffixes, and roots. On Fridays, we will complete reading comprehension with small passages and answer five questions. We will keep track of the scores weekly to see how students improve. Next, we will read Samir and Yonatan by Daniella Cami. This book is out of print, but it is an excellent story about a young Jewish boy and Palestinian boy who become friends. I thought it would be relevant due to our current world situations. It would give us an opportunity to explore both sides of the issue and understand more of how we can help. Usually, we read Night by Elie Wiesel. It is about the Holocaust, but I thought I would try something new this time around. We will see which works better for my students.
11th – We will start each day looking at great sentences in literature and discuss what grammatical structure and word choices make them so great. I will also continue to give them reading comprehension passages every Friday as well. Our main focus of the first nine weeks of the semester will be on a research paper. Students will get to choose the topic — something that matters to them — fishing, music, etc. The students will research this topic and write a solid five paragraph essay with internal citations and a works cited page. At the end of the nine weeks, they will present their research through a formal class presentation.
12th – Same as 11th. The difference in the paper is that it is a required persuasive three to four page essay on an issue in the career field the students are pursuing. It may take more than 9 weeks to complete, so we will be flexible in the timing. At the end of the semester, the 12th graders will present their research to community members. When the paper is finished, the students will then read some British Literature, such as Shakespeare, of course, Animal Farm by George Orwell, and possibly more, depending on time. I like to focus my second part of the semester on leadership, so our reading will focus on this theme.
So, what do you think at first glance? Follow me and help me teach my students. You know, it takes a village!