Creating High School Special Ed Lessons

This article was originally published on the TeachersPayTeachers blog.

Meet Shoshana Rubin, a high school special ed teacher, who is focused on creating engaging, age-appropriate learning experiences for her students.

TPT Teacher Spotlight: Shoshana Rubin

Title: SPED teacher
Location: Teaneck, NJ
Teaches At: SINAI Karasick Shalem High School
Teaching Experience: 4 years

Goal I’m working toward…
Making my own resources! I would love to be able to make resources to help other high school special ed teachers who struggle to find age- and grade-appropriate resources for their classrooms.

Best advice I ever received…
You are not here to teach math, reading, and writing. You are here to teach students. Whenever my students are being tough in class and my lesson isn’t going as planned, I always remind myself that I am not there to teach them this lesson plan; I am here to teach them.

“I AM CURRENTLY TEACHING READING AND WRITING at a private Jewish school in New Jersey. It’s a special ed school that serves high school age students with developmental or significant learning disabilities. We teach what’s called functional academics — so reading, writing, math, and science, but paired with life skills that students can use once they graduate and are outside of the classroom. For instance, in math, we’ll teach money math and recipes. In reading, we’ll focus on questioning, making inferences, and how to read newspapers and websites. For writing, we’ll focus on emails, texts, punctuation, grammar. Things they can use outside of school.”

“THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IS FINDING RESOURCES that are appropriate for a high school special ed curriculum. It’s very hard to teach lower-level academic topics to older students. My students are all high-school age, but they are not at a high school grade level. So while they might be at a 2nd grade level, they’re still high school boys and they don’t want to do things that a 2nd grader would be doing.”

“THERE ARE OFTEN GAPS IN THE CURRICULUM because it is difficult to figure out how to make the topics engaging but not make the students feel ‘babied.’ Finding worksheets and activities that are hands-on, that are visual, that get them moving and touching things, instead of just looking at a textbook and writing things down, is so hard to find. But TpT has helped me find engaging resources so I’m able to teach my students so many important topics! All I have to do is type in what I want to teach and what grade level and I’m shown hundreds of amazing resources.”

“TPT HAS HELPED ME SO MUCH IN THE CLASSROOM. This is my first year as a head teacher and TpT has been like having hundreds of mentors at my fingertips. Having my own classroom was super daunting. Having to think of how you want to teach different topics, making them engaging, and making resources can be scary at first. I didn’t have my own supply of resources or materials, so it’s nice to have an unlimited support system, where I can always find something. On TpT, you can always find a teacher who’s already taught it and has the resources I need. Even if it’s not something that’s perfect for my student, I can always get an idea and then adapt it to fit the needs of my students.”