Differentiating Instruction

Using Technology in the Classroom

I am Special

Here I am, like every other day, rushing into the school building with my 2 littles following behind me. I unlock my classroom door and put my things down and look at my to-do list for the day. 7:30- homework with Johnny and Thomas. “Keep your backpacks on, you have to go to your own class!,” I say to my own ‘personal’ children. I kiss Addie and send her off to the gym and usher Silas to the cafeteria to sit with his preschool class.

While I’m in the cafeteria, I scan for my friends. These are friends who try to dodge me from seeing them because they don’t want to come to my room to complete work. These are friends who would rather eat their breakfast in the cafeteria with their classmates and talk and tell jokes to each other than come see me. But- they need me. I want to go the extra mile for my students. These guys have zero support at home to make sure they complete their homework. This early morning duty isn’t exactly in my job description See, my friends are special and I want them to succeed. So, I make sure it-the homework, the extra practice, the one on one attention-gets done. I mentioned that my friends are special, and yes, they are very, very special. One of my friends is a 5th-grade student, reading on a kindergarten level; the other struggles so severely with inattentiveness that he misses a lot of instruction because he can’t focus in class (it would be nice if he had support to help, but unfortunately no guardian is willing to help.

So, I find my friends. They come to my room with their breakfast and we get started. When they have the accommodations they are eligible to receive, they do really well. Our time together goes by super fast! We get a page of their homework completed, they scarf down their breakfast and by 7:50, it’s time to start the rest of our school day.

I am special because I am a special education teacher who co-teaches with 4th and 5th grade for writing and reading classes. I get to teach THE BEST students in the world. My kiddos struggle as learners, so they need instruction presented in diverse ways. I am always racking my brain for innovative ways to teach them, using technology as much as I possibly can. I know my students are obsessed with video games and Youtube! So, I figured if I can merge these two elements with teaching, I might be able to maximize student learning. What was born from this is video lessons via Google Forms. The students were able to be re-taught or introduced to a new standard through a video within a Google Form. After watching the video, they complete independent practice by navigating through the form. If they answer a question incorrectly, I was able to link that question to a different section of the form in order for the students practice that question again as well as provide an explanation of why that answer was incorrect. I am learning by trial and error on how to create and implement these videos and Google Forms for teaching and re-teaching. I am excited to continue to utilize this type of instruction to meet the needs of our diverse group of learners.


Hard at Work

Students are in re-teaching for context clues. They are engaged, using earbuds to listen to the video and answering questions through the Google Form.

Results from Student Interest Survey

About Mrs. Mayes

Hi! My name is Megan Mayes. I have been teaching for 10 years! This is my fourth year teaching in special education and the 6 years previous I was a regular classroom teacher. I LOVE teaching. While I was a regular education teacher, I felt a tug at my heart meaning I felt I was supposed to be doing something different, a different aspect of teaching. My special education students always had a special place in my heart and I just wanted to help them as much as I could. So, I decided to get my master's degree in learning and behavior disorders so I could work with them in a closer capacity and help them as much as possible. Here I am today! I finally got the opportunity to utilize my master's degree to the fullest and I have loved every minute of it, although let's be real, there are some definite challenges in being a special education teacher along with some definite moments of this so awesome it can't be real!

A little personal information- I am married to my wonderful husband, Stephen. We have 3 precious children, Addie (8), Silas (4) and Sutton (2). My husband is a cattle farmer and we live on a farm. Aside from teaching, I also raise chickens, sell eggs and make and sell sugar cookies. We are busy, but live life to the fullest.