Putting the Pieces Together


Now that I’m in my second year teaching special ed, I have a much better sense of how things need to be done for results to be achieved. As such, I am seeing growth in my students that didn’t occur last year (much to everyone’s delight). I am particularly pleased with some of my students from last year breaking through to bigger and better things this year.

My favorite case is a student who, last year, drove me batty with his defiance and inconsistent work habits. This year, he is a changed man. He is more accepting of his limitations and appreciative of learning new things (no longer of the opinion that he knows everything). Because he has let his walls down, he is growing as a student and a person. His writing is markedly improved. His reading gains, though, are a thing of beauty. Last year, he came to my class reading on level F. I dropped him down to D in September and he didn’t get back to F until June. This year, he started the year on E, then quickly got to F, moved on to G, and this week, arrived on H. This is not insignificant. He is putting the pieces together.

Another student who I had last year also ended the year on F, dropped to E in September, and has since moved to H. One of my girls who hit a dead end on D last year is already reading on F this year.

Sure, there are kids who are still struggling to break through troublesome levels. But my purposeful planning and targeted teaching is going to pay off. I’m putting the pieces together, too.

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One response to “Putting the Pieces Together

  1. Matthew, your posts always seem to dovetail perfectly with the questions I’m asking related to classroom teaching. Currently my focus is learning design for best effect. You mention that your work is “targeted” and “purposeful,” and I know the climate is positive–all attributes that lead to optimal learning. You’ve also written about one engaging lesson after another and the fact that you notice and respond to students lives and interests too. What other aspects of your classroom and teaching do you think makes your students so successful? What do you consider optimal learning design? Thanks for contemplating this with me.

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