As a special education teacher in a district that uses a pull-out model for direct instruction at the elementary school level, I am working against the tide of full inclusion. That’s not to say that I don’t feel my student should be included, and in fact, they are included in the general education for a majority of their school day.
However, I am an advocate of responsible inclusion rather than full inclusion. The purpose of creating an individualized education plan for my students is to help them succeed academically. It’s individualized because every student is unique, with his own particular strengths and weaknesses. His strengths need to be tapped, and his weaknesses need to be supported. To have the position of full inclusion as a blanket statement for all students with special needs completely ignores them as unique individuals.
For most of my students, their language arts or math curriculum is the same as the general education curriculum, just with accommodations. The academic goals and expectations their IEP team has for them is the same as their regular education classmates. But I am able to use programs in my classroom that are not feasible to use in their homerooms. I monitor their progress regularly, and adjust my instruction accordingly.
I created this blog because, as a learning support teacher in a pull-out model, I yearn for a community of like-minded special educators. I have searched for other blogs as a platform for celebrating the triumphs and, yes, commiserating the disappointments of my teaching, especially in such a unique environment. I have also sought after teaching materials that meet the needs of my students. I found Teachers Pay Teachers and fell in love with the idea of using materials that were “teacher-tested.” I have downloaded a ton of resources from teachers across the country who have shared their expertise in what they do, and it has made a tremendous difference in my classroom!
Unfortunately for me, I am not able to use a good portion of what I see on the site because many of my students cannot use worksheets that are too “busy” with fancy fonts and fun clipart. My students with dyslexia need a clean, legible font, and my students with ADD/ADHD need a streamlined paper with lots of clean space.
So my only choice was to create most of what I needed on my own. Then I had an “Ah-Ha!” moment: I’m probably not the only one who’s searching for unique teaching materials! Why not share what I’ve created? I have made several freebies available for download, along with various other materials, and I have received great feedback. If you get a chance, take a look at my TpT store to see if there’s anything there you could use. More importantly, if you have any materials that you share on TpT, please let me know in the comments section. I am always looking for fresh ideas!