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If you want someone to learn to communicate the first thing you have to do is ease up on the talking, and let them do it. Children are sometimes reluctant to speak , and their motivation to do so is very different from that of an adult. Entice them with great activities, talk about movies, books and shows they like.
Start the class by telling them something funny that happened to you that day and encourage them to do the same. You can tell them you were abducted by aliens on the way to work and that they conveniently dropped you off right at the door of the school. When you choose a game or fun activity, look for ones that involve speaking.
A good example of a game that can be adapted is bingo.
Lesson: The Power of Active Listening
Teachers often play this game to practice vocabulary. Well, an interesting twist would be to tell the kids to make a sentence or ask a question when one of their words are called. Almost any game or activity can be adapted to become more communicative. What an adult and a child need to communicate is sometimes similar and other times very different. Some examples are, giving and asking for information or things, expressing an opinion or describing something. These are, in fact, very common goals we find in most programs and books.
Role plays are a great activity to practice interactions. The advantage is that since social media has really taken off in the last couple of years, kids feel more motivated to learn. Practice sending messages and e-mails, read age and content appropriate blogs together then have them give you their opinion. Another option is working with articles.
After reading they can write a review about that article. Body language is very important in communication , and children have to be aware of this. Kids need to understand the power body language has in transmitting an idea. The way they stand or sit, their facial expressions, what they do with their hands, etc, also communicates a great deal.
Help your children understand how not paying attention to these things can even miscommunicate an idea. They need to be guided and prepared to communicate. In one of my ninth grade English classes, 13 of my 27 students had IEPs. Additionally, about one-third of the students had failed the class the previous year.
I dreaded the first day of school. But then something wonderful happened: The principal assigned me a co-teacher, a special education expert to serve as another set of hands and eyes and ears! I was thrilled. My co-teacher Sandie was a joy to collaborate with, but our relationship was by no means perfect, especially at the beginning. We often struggled to find planning time. Sometimes we disagreed about how to best help a particular student. However, we nurtured the co-teaching relationship and, in time, found a rhythm that worked for us—and for the students we served.
Co-teaching, when done well, offers benefits for both students and teachers. When not done well, it can be confusing or downright frustrating for all involved. If you are or will be part of a co-teaching partnership, this post will show you some ways to make your partnership work beautifully. A co-teaching team works in the general ed classroom; for the majority of the time, students with special needs are not pulled out to receive services in another location.
For instance, a middle school social studies teacher may have an ELL teacher co-teaching with him during one class period because five students in that class are newcomers to the United States and speak only Arabic fluently. A high school teacher may have one or two sections of biology to which many students with IEPs for reading are channeled; a co-teacher who specializes in reading disabilities co-teaches in these classes.
A 4th grade teacher may have two students with plans and another three who have specific learning disabilities in her class; she works alongside a special education teacher daily during lessons in the four core academic subject areas. For more background, download this Brief History of Co-Teaching. One teach, one observe: One teacher delivers instruction while the other observes student learning. Usually the observer collects data on student understanding so that the co-teaching team can better plan future instruction.
Sometimes, specific students are watched closely so that the teachers can determine new strategies to use with them. One teach, one assist: One teacher takes the lead in providing instruction while the other moves around the classroom, assisting struggling students.
This help is not limited to students with special needs; the assisting professional is there to serve whomever needs support. Parallel teaching: The class is divided in two groups and the same material is presented simultaneously by both teachers. Station teaching: Both teachers are actively involved in instruction as students are divided into groups and rotate from one station to the next.
There may be stations where students work independently or with a paraprofessional in addition to the two stations the co-teachers facilitate. Alternative teaching: One teacher takes a small group of students and provides them more intensive or specialized instruction that is different than what the large group receives from the other teacher. It is important to note that both teachers have equal status and equal responsibility in all six of these arrangements.
In the co-teaching relationships that work best, at no time is one teacher seen as subordinate to the other. Both professionals are credentialed professionals, although each may have his or her specific areas of expertise. The advice below sums up the most common recommendations. Not surprisingly, mutual respect is critical to the co-teaching relationship. When they collaborate, Amy feels her suggestions for tweaking whole-class lessons are not taken seriously by her partner.
When Students Won’t Stop Talking
The physical science teachers welcome her ideas and eagerly adjust their lessons based on her suggestions. They are seeing a steady increase of students mastering the required standards in the classes Susan supports. Co-teaching works better when the partners agree on who does what, when. Clearly defined roles and responsibilities prevent either partner from feeling the other has overstepped a boundary or shirked responsibilities.
Obviously this type of planning requires a great deal of time, ideally before school starts.
When Students Won't Stop Talking | Cult of Pedagogy
If extended time is not available prior to the beginning of the school year, then the co-teaching team should expect to put in extra hours before and after school in the first few weeks so things get off to a good start. My co-teacher Sandie and I did not have advance warning of our assignment. We found out about it on the first teacher workday, leaving us only a few days before the students arrived. Innovation is difficult. Sometimes this means one person has to put aside his or her favorite tried-and-true strategy and try something different. When Susan suggested a tactile, quiz-like method for reviewing the periodic table to her physical science co-teaching partners, they were skeptical about the time and materials it might require.
They initially felt it would be more efficient to simply give additional notes to their students and then pair students to quiz each other. The students loved the activity, and almost every student with special needs passed the chapter test two days later. All three teachers were thrilled and committed to using the activity in future years. The co-teaching relationship brings together two people with wonderfully rich expertise and experiences. General educators, on the other hand, tend to have broad knowledge of the curriculum, standards, and desired outcomes for the larger group.
Therefore, when general educators plan lessons, they tend to aim for the masses Dettmer et al. Both perspectives are important, and co-teaching teams need ample planning time to work through how to best utilize each one. Lack of planning time can lead to territorialism. Without time to plan for a good balance of content and individualization, a general ed teacher may become protective of his subject matter, or a specialist may become protective of his students. One teacher often asks Emma to pull aside the five or six students with specific disabilities within his class and work only with them.
An assistant principal who oversees the math department facilitates the meetings so Emma feels supported and the geometry teacher has another content-area expert to hash things out with. Keep in mind that planning must include both instruction and assessment. How much time is ideal?
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This figure corresponds to what worked for my co-teacher and me, and it also confirms what I hear from many co-teachers in the field. Strive to find that time any way you can. Innovation requires failure. We are often our own worst critics.
This is the kind of ongoing learning we want to model for our students. And, as in most situations in life, a little bit of humor goes a long way. Laugh with your co-teacher. Planning time is one thing; constant communication is another. Not only should co-teachers frequently plan for what standards will be covered, how material will be taught, and how students will be assessed, they should also regularly communicate in less formal ways.
In addition to ongoing communication, Ariel Sacks reminds us to periodically check in with our co-teacher about how we are doing in general. She recommends asking your partner the following:. Finally, co-teachers need to present a united front when dealing with parents. Some partners go as far as to create a shared email address from which all communication flows.
This may or may not be practical in your situation. For more in-depth information about communicating and collaborating with your co-teacher, see Communicating and Collaborating in Co-Taught Classrooms Conderman et al. This is what happened with Sandie and me. We were able to find snippets of time during the school day to use for planning and checking in with each other, but we had no common planning period. Go to your principal with a couple of proposals about how this can work without too much disruption to the rest of the schedule.
Sometimes co-teachers may not understand fully why they are being asked to team. If this is the case, ask for a meeting with the principal and any others responsible for the assignment. Ask them why they thought the two of you would be a good fit and what they hope you will accomplish with students. If you and your co-teacher have not recently been observed, ask the administrator to come sit in on part of a lesson.
Debrief with the administrator, ideally with your co-teaching partner.
Why Haven't We Been Using Humour in Our Classrooms?
When an observer offers data and feedback to both of you, it may feel different for your partner than when you share things from your perspective. This co-teaching observation form can help. Be cognizant of your demeanor, tone, and body language.
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Students are quite perceptive and can easily spot trouble. If your colleagues or students give you any evidence that they know the co-teaching arrangement is ineffective, head straight for that trusted administrator to support you. Conderman, G. Communicating and collaborating in co-taught classrooms. Teaching Exceptional Children Plus,5 5. Dettmer, P. Columbus, OH: Pearson. Dieker, Lisa A. Friend, M. Interactions: Collaboration skills for school professionals. White Plains, NY: Longman.
Marston, N. Six steps to successful co-teaching: Helping special and regular education teachers work together. National Education Association.