Some thoughts on special needs – suggestions welcomed

Following the first online discussion since the conference that changed me two weeks ago, I’ve been having a few thoughts about the students I have in my charge with needs that don’t fit within the current narrow definition of achievement – well below to above – that we work within.

During our #edchatnz discussion last evening, Danielle posed this question:

My answer was swift because it has been something I’ve been grappling with as my teaching philosophy has rapidly developed since my return to the full-time teaching fold a year and a half back:

To expand the question somewhat: How do I provide relevant content to the year 5 & 6 students I have who are achieving at Level 1 of the NZ Curriculum? 

I worry that these students are getting lost within the melee of the unstructured structure I have constructed for my learners this year. 

I truly believe this is my greatest challenge as a teacher. Giving these learners the education they deserve while still delivering challenging learning for those gifted students who are knocking on the door of secondary school achievement levels. 

My question to the PLN I have constructed for myself over the last fortnight is this: What do I do? What do you do? I have a couple of hours of teacher aide time per week. I want to be as inclusive as I possibly can – why should they miss out on the learning of the rest of the class just because of their abilities? I have some ideas but I would love to hear some of the solutions that already exist out there.

I owe it to my L1 students to do the best I can for them.