Teaching advanced concepts in the Special Education Classroom can be very scary. Especially teaching them to students with moderate to severe disabilities. We hear very often from general education students ‘They are working on the same topics we are working on! I thought they are just learning to read and write!”
We are working on the same concepts, but on a different level. When we talk about the author’s purpose the students will learn that there are three different reasons an author writes. The general education student will learn that there are a lot of hidden messages and possibly two different author’s purposes in one text. We want the students to understand the basic concepts of abstract topics to the best of their ability.
Last week I started working on Author’s Purpose with my students. They learned that there are three reasons an author writes: to persuade, to inform, and to entertain. We use a checklist when we look at a piece of writing. This checklist allows us to determine what the reason the author is writing. My students learn really well when I add some simple sign language when introducing new words or concepts. It seems to really help with their memory.
I actually created this table on a huge piece of paper and laminated it. I also made checkmarks and x’s. I laminated those as well and attached velcro to it. Now I will be able to ask the students if one applies or if it doesn’t and they can put their answer on the board. This will allow some much needed movement in the classroom during these types of lessons and more student involvement for the lower functioning students. After we decide which ones apply, we count the checkmarks and the column with the most checkmark wins. Therefore, the students figure out what the author’s purpose for a piece of writing is.