I find that this time of year, when I realize our school year is half over, I can begin to panic about all that is left to teach. If I am not careful I can get stressed and I start to doubt myself. If I am not diligent I forget to stop and smell the roses and to reflect on the difference I am making. Teaching special education is rewarding and challenging. My students do make progress, but often times it is not at the same pace as their non-disabled peers.
At the beginning of this school year I began utilizing Quick Draw and Quick Look explorations designed to build number sense. I have purposefully and diligently engaged students in activities to develop subitizing skills, “the ability to quickly identify the number of items in a small set without counting. Researchers have demonstrated a strong relationship between subitizing skill and math achievement” (www.kensmath.com/kens-math-program/subitizing/ 2016) . My students have risen to the challenge and are making excellent progress. They are becoming master subatizers and are beginning to carry this over to composing and decomposing numbers to twenty. Furthermore, they are beginning to think of themselves as mathematicians.
The second week back from winter break we were engaged in a writing activity. Students were challenged to think about the thing that makes them special. The one thing that they are proud to call their own. This image captures perfectly the moments that fuel us as teachers. It is important to remember that yes, we do make a difference. Yes, our students are learning. Don’t be hard on yourself if some kiddos learn more slowly than others. If you are developing relationships with your students and using sound pedagogical practices they all can and do learn!