What to do if you have a Exploratory Spanish with self contained students

This school year, I had to teach an exploratory Spanish with self contained students. What do I mean by that? Teaching 10 students who were in our SLC (structured learning center) from our Special Education program. I had students that were visually impaired, hard of hearing, down syndrome, non-verbal among other Individual Educational Program & 504 (behavior programs).

I had to teach this exploratory Spanish twice a week (I teach on an A/B schedule) Tuesday and Friday’s. I had 2 awesome associates and me. I am grateful considering that before when I had them in a “gen ed” classroom, I only had one. So what did we focus on curricular wise?

The curriculum

I honestly had little to no formal feedback for their “Spanish curriculum”. My class is essentially a break so that their SLC teacher can have her planning time or her lunch. I mainly focused on:

1. Colors
2. Numbers
3. Estoy (emotions and school locations using CI methodology)
4. El/Ella/ (person) es (bueno/a, malo/a, amigo/a, enemigo/a)
5. A LOT of children’s songs, motions, dancing, etc.

The day-to-day

After taking attendance we always began with the Buenos Dias song. Every.Single.Day. Most of these students had little to no formal output in their L1, Native language, choose your favorite title or simple they were non-verbal. I had one student, an 8th grader, who NEVER talked to me before this year. In MAY, he looked at me, said his name and then looked at me in the eyes and said “EO… IA”. Which mean EO = buenos, IA= Dias. GOAL. HIGH FIVES. Insert me aggressively dabbing in the classroom because of the teacher win. Yes, I did that. Yes. I am THAT teacher.

After the Buenos días song, we had days that were “brain break days” which easily meant, we just did Spanish Dance Revolution to songs in Spanish OR a song that was sung by a Latinx artist. These students needed a chance to move, dance, and do something that was different from what they see day in and day out. I used a LOT of Atención Atención, which if you don’t know who they are, you need to. They’re essentially the Wiggles of Latin America and they come from Puerto Rico (shameless plug in from my country). Most of the days we just did part free draw as we listen to songs in Spanish.

If you have had classes with Special Education students, let me know!!

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