No one will really understand the challenges that my students and I are having inside the classroom unless he has taught full time for at least a week inside a special education self-contained or a resource classroom. But what we are having in our class this school year is way beyond the challenges that we had in the past. What made us survive this school year? Aside from having a wonderful instructional aide, whom I will always be grateful for never abandoning me through thick and thin, I have learned to mix common sense with best practices and teaching standards (thanks to the National Board process!).
There is really no "cookbook recipe" citing exactly what should work and not work in a special education classroom. What works is taking a cup of common sense and mixing it with heaping spoonfulls of patience, understanding, consistency, positive expectations, and an enthusiastic attitude, and not forgetting to pour in a heart full of love, and bake for one school year. I have learned a great deal from reading, and reading, and reading books and blogs of our exceptionally great teacher leaders!
Who else believed in my students' abilities? I know my students ---they really can do it. Here's a teaser for our class culminating activity. My students were able to finish the Unit on Intro to Greek Mythology for MS, as a final class project they played the role of their favorite gods and goddesses and introduced their characters in a short video clip. Teaser attached, culminating presentation will be scheduled soon. Watch and enjoy!! (BTW, the video ended earlier than the audio, sorry about that!)