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Teaching Kids With Learning Difficulties in the Regular Classroom

Item Number  61008


Author: Susan Winebrenner
Grades: Adult
Format: Softcover Book


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New edition with CD

Proven, practical ways to help special education, “slow,” and “remedial students become successful learners.

Introduction

The times, they are a-changing. The problems your regular students are experiencing have increased dramatically in recent years. You are asked to be teacher, parent, social worker, psychologist, confidant, and even economic provider, and you may feel stretched to the limit. In the past, the special educational needs of students with significant learning difficulties have been met either entirely outside of your classroom, or with the help of a special education teacher in a resource program. You have had limited responsibility for teaching these kids. Now, you have probably been told to add to your regular teaching assignment those students who were formerly in special education settings. How you can possibly do it all?

Perhaps your school district has promised to provide support for you from the special education staff ... but you can count. And you can see that there are many more students with special educational needs than special education staff to serve them. It certainly doesn’t compute that you will be able to get full-time help with these students. Even part-time help may not look too promising! You are worried about how your regular education kids will fare when your attention and energy are so splintered. You may even be concerned about whether you have adequate training for all you are being asked to do.

In order to be a successful teacher for students who are struggling to learn, you need to understand that these kids are not necessarily less intelligent or less capable than the successful students. Many are simply less fortunate because successful students have enjoyed a match between the way their brain processes information and the skills that are needed to master typical school tasks. By and large, unsuccessful students have not. Although many of these kids have been labeled “learning disabled,” a more accurate description is that they are “learning strategy disabled.” Many simply have never been taught strategies that are compatible with the way they think and learn. Once we teach them the appropriate techniques, their learning problems diminish significantly

When the right methods are used, it is no longer necessary to water down content or repeat it endlessly; For example, for many years those students who failed to learn to read with a phonics-oriented program were given remedial phonics. The assumption was that everyone had to understand phonics to be able to read. When we taught outlining, we assumed that all kids should learn it the “right way” Now that we understand more about the way the human brain functions, we know that rather than remediate, we must work to make matches happen between the content to be learned and the learning styles of our students. When the right matches are found, the message we send to struggling students is, “You can be a successful student!”

This book presents a wide variety of teaching methods so you can find the right match for every student in your classroom. These practical, easy-to-use strategies, techniques, and activities have been collected from a variety of sources. Actually that is what makes this book unique! You don’t have to do your own research about what works to teach kids how to read, or how to remember their number facts. I’ve done the research for you, and this book contains the most effective methods I have found for helping students with learning problems become much more successful learners. Simply diagnose the learning weakness a particular student exhibits, find the right chapter in this book, and match the strategies to the student. Significant improvement will take place before your eyes. Using these strategies, you can help bring the learner up to the level of the content rather than lowering expectations for some students.

Throughout this book, there is an emphasis on the belief that high self-esteem can only be achieved through hard work and genuine accomplishments. As author and educator Dr. Sylvia Rimm has said, “The surest path to high self-esteem is to be successful at something one perceived would be difficult! Each time we steal a student’s struggle, we steal the opportunity for them to build self-confidence. They must learn to do difficult things to feel good about themselves.”

There is nothing quite so powerful as our ability to communicate high expectations for success to our students. Over the years, many studies have shown that we get what we expect! For example, the “Pygmalion Study” in the 1960s demonstrated that kids could improve dramatically if their teachers were told they would do extremely well in a given year. * A 1970 report to the Congress of the President’s Commission on Mental Retardation found that some

children may function in the retarded range while they are in school for six hours a day but behave more like “normal people” once they return home.**

We really don’t know for certain how many students we’ve labeled “slow” or “remedial” over the years have actually been experiencing some type of learning difference. We don’t know if we’ve properly matched labels to kids or if we have “over-labeled.” None of that matters, since the strategies in this book will potentially benefit all students who find learning difficult.

I do not attempt to match specific strategies to each specific category of special education student. The strategies are generic and are presented as a menu of options for you to use as you empower all kids to become successful in your classroom. The best news is that when you find strategies that work with your struggling students, you may observe that they are effective with other kids as well.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying some of the methods described in this book. You know that your struggling students will continue to struggle if they don’t get the help they need. When you find and use strategies that work, teaching and learning become mutually successful experiences.

I promise you that these methods will work for you and your students. They have been used by myself and many other classroom teachers with success. As a staff development specialist, I have presented these concepts to teachers of all grade levels. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and many teachers have told me that they wish they had known about these strategies throughout their entire teaching career. This book will help you become an even better teacher than you already are. All you have to remember is this: If students are not learning the way you are teaching them, find and use a more appropriate method so you can teach them the way they learn.

Here’s what you’ll find in this book:

    Chapter 1 contains tips for helping all students feel welcome in your classroom, since kids who feel like outsiders are potential candidates for misbehavior and underachievement.

    Chapter 2 presents tried-and-true ways to get all students involved in all learning activities.

    Chapter 3 describes the various categories the world of special education uses to define students with learning difficulties and offers suggestions for intervening with some of those problems.

    Chapter 4 helps you to understand and appreciatetheir parents how you can enhance the learning success of your I believe that this book can help you help most struggling students by matching your teaching to their learning styles

    Chapter 5 presents “state-of-the-art” ideas about how learning happens and how teachers can create learning success for all students

    Chapters 6 through 8 suggest a variety of metods you can use to improve reading and writing success for your struggling students.These methods are compatible with any others you are currently using to teach reading and the language arts.

    Chapters 9 and 10 focus on learning in the content areas, including mathematics. Because many students with learning difficulties areterribly disorganized, Chapter 9 also includes suggestions for bringing into their lives.

    Chapter 11 describes several methods that can help you move beyond traditional assessment and get better picture of what your struggling students are really learning.

    Chapter 12 focuses on behavior issues. Because students with learning problems often seem to have behavior problems, you might be surprised to find this chapter so near the end of the book. In fact, when students’ learning styles are attended to and curriculum is appropriate, behavior issues become less important because misbehavior declines!

    Chapter 13 offers suggestions for involving parents as part of the learning team. It describes several ways to reach out to parents — including those who don’t seem “interested” — and make them welcome at school.

    Each chapter also includes a “Questions and Answers” section in which I respond to the questions most frequently asked when I present this content in a workshop format. If you have questions that are not addressed in this book, be sure to write to me so I can respond, either in future editions or by personal communication. Write to me c/o Free Spirit Publishing, 400 First Avenue North, Suite 616, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1730.

Finally each chapter concludes with lists that point you toward additional sources of information and materials. These are the best books, articles, videos, organizations, associations, programs, and resources I have found, and I encourage you to seek them out. You´ll also find lists of resources and recommended readings to share with your students and their parents.

I believe that this book can help you help most of your students who experience learning difficulties. I´d love to hear from you regarding the usefulness of the information it contains.

Let´s get started
Susan Wienbrenner
  
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Price    $34.95
For  EA

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