The End of the Year is Always a Fresh Start

Let me start off my introducing myself and letting you all know who I am and why I felt like I needed to start a blog.  My students call me Mrs. Bretz. I teach 6th grade special education in Illinois. In my 6 years of teaching, I feel like I have done something different every year. This past school year my teaching partner and I started something that hadn’t been done in our school before and we loved it. So I am happy to say that for the first time in my teaching career, I am teaching the same thing in the same classroom, 2 years in a row. I started off my teaching career as Teacher for the Visually Impaired. I taught students ages 3-21 who had a visual impairment. We worked on a wide array of skills they need both in the classroom and in the real world.  I did this for 2 years, but I didn’t feel satisfied. At that point in time, I felt like I wanted more so I looked in Master’s Degree programs and I found one that would give me everything I wanted, a Master’s in Special Education and a certification to teach students with learning and behavior disabilities (LBS1).  So that’s what I did. That summer I started classes and got my LBS1 certification. From there I worked 1 year as a resource teacher at the middle school I currently teach at and then 2 years as a self-contained, instructional writing teacher.

So what do you teach now?

Now, I am doing something that had never been done in my school. My teaching partner (Ms. H) and I felt that the 6th graders that come to us needed a little help with their transition from elementary school to middle school. Most of the 6th graders we see in instructional classes are very immature and have a hard time adjusting to the changes that come with middle school. We began to brainstorm and thought that if we could limit the number of times they change classes throughout the day, then they might be able to bridge that huge transition. So that’s exactly what we did. I have one group of 6th graders for 2 class periods in the morning (1st and 2nd hour) for math and history and then I switch groups with my teaching partner. I see the second group for 3 class periods (3rd, 5th, and 6th hour) for math, history, and science.  My classroom is more of a self-contained classroom than anything else. Some of my students go out to the regular education classroom for a class or two, usually history and/or science. With the self-contained setting, Ms. H and I can really work with the students and get them ready for 7th and 8th grade where they will be expected to go to a different teacher for all 6 classes throughout the day.

That’s what this blog is for.

It’s for the special education teacher.

It’s for the self-contained teacher.

It’s for the math teacher or the history teacher.

It’s for the middle school teacher.

It’s for the teacher whose classroom looks a little different.

It’s for any teacher who wants to learn a few new tricks for their classroom.



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