Sunday, July 4, 2010

Special Needs list

Starting to update all my forms before the big back to school rush. Today I’m working on my Special Needs lists.

These are checklists for the classroom teachers that help me identify any special needs my students may have that I am unaware of.

We have a diverse school population, ranging from resource kids (those identified as learning disabled) to gifted, monolingual Spanish-speaking students to those who speak fluently in both English & Spanish, and those with medical disabilities.

I created the form using Excel and have check off columns for the following designations: Resource, Speech, Gifted-Language Arts, Gifted-Math & Non-Verbal, Non-Reader, Spanish/Monolingual, Fluent Spanish/English and Medical Needs. There is also a large column for teacher comments.

I copy & paste the student class list on the form and give it to the classroom teacher the first day of class, asking that they return the form by the next class. With luck, I get most of the forms back in the first month.

I use this info in combination w/my first day assessments to help with seating charts. In any table group of 4, I don’t like to have more than 1 special needs student – this includes behavior or learning disability.

The only disadvantage to this system is the highly transitory nature of our school population. Probably 25% of our students enrolled in August will not be here in May. That’s when it pays to have good communication with your classroom teachers.

When a new student shows up, I take a few minutes at the beginning of class or end of class to pump the teacher for info. If the student has been at school for a few days, the classroom teacher may have some insight to behavior and learning abilities. If I’m lucky, the student is an in-district transfer (we have 23 schools in our K-8 district) and I can always touch base w/my colleague who was the former teacher for info. I always take the time to share my observations as well because we all know that our students can excel in our rooms even if they struggle elsewhere.

Well this was a nice diversion but I have to get back to those forms…

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