If you were attracted to the title and are looking for an easier way to teach Open Court to Special ed. students, then you are in the right place. I am not an expert, by far, but I will write about techniques and strategies that I know and use. If they are any help to you, then use them. If not, throw them out. Whatever the case, Welcome!
I wrote this post after in response to Mathew’s post a couple of days ago. After reading his post, I thought to myself that I needed to write about what I learned from the Special Ed. Open Court training at the end of the school year. It was a godsend. I was very happy to receive this information because it helped me to slow down. It seemed as if I was always rushing from one Open Court story to the next without feeling as if my students had properly grasped the concepts.Now that I know how to structure my class, it’s a bit easier, but I have so much work to do. I am happy, in one way, to have more structure to my day, but (and there’s always a but), I am so overwhelmed. Last year, I managed to teach Open Court (in a bootleg kinda’ way), Touch Math, and a little, teeny-tiny bit of Science. This year, I have much more to do. My problem isn’t with what I have to teach. It’s how much I have to teach. I’m wondering how I’m going to fit it all in. I’m also wondering about how I’m going to plan it all. When am I going to find the time?
You see, Open Court is structured so that the first, second, and last stories are the most important ones. Consequently, per the information that I was given during the training, Special Ed. teachers are allowed to teach the first, second, and last stories of the program. However, the skills being taught in the other stories still need to be taught.
So, in order to comply with that, I looked at the very front of the Teacher’s Edition (T.E.) and typed up the skills that need to be taught for the whole unit into a chart to remind me of which skills need to be taught at what time.
I teach 3rd grade Open Court even though I have 2nd-5th grade. How? During Open Court I send all of my 5th graders out to be mainstreamed. I’m working on getting my 4th graders and my lone 2nd grader mainstreamed. My 2nd graders’ behavior is really intense, so I don’t know who will really want to accept him. I know that they don’t have a choice because it’s the law, but I just want to make sure that he’s treated fairly. So, long story short, I take all my meetings with 3rd grade level, so that’s how I end teaching 3rd grade Open Court even though I have 4 separate grade levels.
Open Court teaching is on grade level, but Voyager, which is intervention, is below grade level. During that block of time, I am allowed to teach the children what they need to know, like the Sound Spelling cards, high frequency words & sight words, word families, and whatever else they need.
Whether I find the time or not, this is what I have to teach:
- Open Court in the morning and after recess (w/Social Studies thrown in for the last 20 minutes of OCR)
- Voyager in the afternoon, which is an intervention program
- Touch Math (It’s supposed to fit in after Intervention)
- Science (F.O.S.S. kit) When it’s going to fit in, I still haven’t figured it out yet.
I am still revising my schedule as needed, but I will post it anyway.