Abigale Upham

Student Name: Jacob Stein
Credential Program: MCC 2 year, single subject (English)
School/Site Name: High Tech High
Teacher/Professional at Site: Liz Mahoney
Other Professionals in Setting During Observation: Elliot (Academic Coach)
Type of Setting: Inclusion
Types of Special Needs within Class: Cerebral Palsy
Type of Activity/Lesson Occurring During Visit: Sharing of creative writing perspective
stories, discussion & worksheet about sensory details, Of Mice & Men quote logs, vocabulary,
and discussion questions.
Age/Grade of Individuals Observed: 9th Grade, 15
Describe Curriculum Specific Specific Observations Related to Content Area:
Reading Standards for Literature 9-10 Students
1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly
as well as inferences drawn from the text.
2. Determine a theme of central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the
course of a text, including how it emerges and is shaped and redefined by specific details.
3. Analyze how complex characters develop over the course of a text, interact with other
characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative
and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on
meaning and tone.
Reading Standards for Informational Texts 9-10 Students
1. Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text.
Writing Standards
3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique,
well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a
new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and
audience.
6. Use technology, including the internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared
writing products.
10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and
shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two).
Speaking and Listening Standards
1. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in
groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners, texts,and issues, building on others’ ideas and
expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
3. Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying
any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.
Describe Types of Interactions Observed Between Adults and Students. Describe How
Management of Behavior, Classroom and Instructor Pacing was Implemented?
Jacob seems to have a very supportive and understanding relationship with both his teacher and
academic coach. Mrs. Mahoney constantly provides an environment where Jacob can relate to all
of his peers and not be defined by his disability. She incorporates Jacob into the class community
and activities by pushing him to participate in reader’s theater, share his work, and engage in
discussions. I can tell that he also feels very comfortable coming to Mrs. Mahoney with any
questions, concerns, or confusions because of her open hearted bias-less attitude. Jacob’s
academic coach also does a lovely job of showing Jacob that he is no different and just as
capable as the other freshmen by keeping a low profile, offering help to all students when he is in
the room, and giving Jacob the lead on his work.
Types of Purposeful Engagement Occurring Between or Among Students:
This class is extremely active and community oriented because of High Tech High’s project
based learning approach to education. The students all transferred into the high school from
different middle schools. As a result there were many new faces for each student to assess on the
first day of school. I am completely amazed at the atmosphere that these high school students
cultivate, and can clearly see where it benefits Jacob’s experience in ways that traditional public
high schools may not support. Still, there are the popularity struggles and peer disputes that the
teenage years consist of. Kids are typically supportive of Jacob and include him in their
perspectives as they would any other peer. Occasionally Mrs. Mahoney runs into small
popularity contests that devalue Jacob. However, she does her absolute best to iron them out and
give Jacob back whatever opportunity he was shorted.
Describe the Atmosphere within the Setting. What did you observe that was similar and
different from general education classroom without the inclusion of special needs students?
The kids at High Tech High benefit from the adults in their educational community placing high
value on students’ input, beliefs, opinions, needs, and wants. This atmosphere seems to help
students feel more at home while at school. It also seems that this sense of comfort trickles down
into students acceptance and understanding towards each other.
List Observed Accessibility/Accommodations/Adaptions/Differentiated Instruction Seen
During Visit:
The major adaptation and accommodations made for Jacob is the implementation of a computer
program similar to “Dragon”. The physical handicaps caused by Cerebral Palsy unfortunately
make it difficult for Jacob to complete the writing assignments in the same block of time as the
rest of the class. Mrs. Mahoney and Elliot have informed me that writing typically takes 4x as
long for Jacob. However, they have also made clear that Jacob is extremely bright! The Dragon
program allows Jacob to verbalize his responses, recording them to a word doc that he can then
print out and turn in. Although this requires Jacob to step out of class for periods of time, it is
usually when the other students are supposed to be partaking in individual work. Jacob seems to
thrive from the Dragon program. He becomes extremely passionate in his tone and actions,
pouring his heart into the work and gaining a foundation of confidence from that experience.
Identify at least one observation you can make in a relationship to establishing and
maintaining a healthy environment. Reference where in Healthy Environment Readings
you learned about this aspect of a healthy environment.
Mrs. Mahoney made fantastic use of the “Teacher’s Pyramid of Influence” that provides the path
for making a difference. Page & Page point out that as teachers we all have a circle of concern
that typically spans much wider than our circle of influence. Page & Page introduce the Pyramid
of Influence. The pyramid breaks down into three tiers: modeling (example), interacting with
students, and overt attempts to teach (telling, explaining). Modeling is specifically important. I
believe that part of Mrs. Mahoney’s success at cultivating such a healthy classroom environment
for Jacob and all other students. She exemplifies the open minded, supportive, yet confident
mindset and it transfers to her classroom environment! She also interacts with all of her students
in a way that validates individuality and proves to them that she accepts each person as a unique
individual. Of course, Mrs. Mahoney makes overt attempts to explain her lessons and
expectations to all of her students. However, unlike usual scenarios where educators spend a
majority of the time “telling and explaining”, Liz entrusts the students ability to accomplish and
supports with positive modeling and interacting.
Identify a process, policy and/or procedure that shows compliance or need to expand
federal and state laws related to individuals with special needs. Cite where in a text,
readings or class discussion the legal requirements we discussed.
“The least restrictive environment provision guarantees a student’s right to be educated in the
same setting most like that for peers without disabilities in which students can be successful with
appropriate supports provided” (Friend & Bursuck, 5).
How is technology evident in the setting? Are devices that specifically help one or more
individuals communicate or participate evident? How do the professionals themselves use
technology for teaching, organization or administrative purposes?
Please refer to above discussion of the program “Dragon” used by Jacob and his academic coach.
Describe something observed in this setting that you might integrate into your classroom
(strategy, device or informational about individuals). What are overall reactions/additional
comments. I will definitely work to integrate Liz and Elliot’s attitudes towards and interactions
with Jacoband the rest of the class so that all students can be relatively comfortable and feel
important to the fabric of the class.
Identify or recommend health and/or safety issues being addressed in the setting. Is their a
health or safety teachable moment possible in the setting?
I think that a very important lesson taught to all of the students in this class is that a person is not
defined by his or her physical health.
Two Web Based References/Information Sites:
http://www.physicalasanything.com.au/lo/cerebralPalsy_011/cerebralPalsy_02.htm
http://cerebralpalsyworld.com/cp_education.aspx