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Case Study

Cassie Norman
Case Study- SPE
Arizona State University

Case Study

As a student pursuing a degree in elementary education, I am aware that I am going to

be one of the first people who may catch signs of disabilities within students that may not have
been caught at an early age. With a goal of becoming a third grade teacher, which typically
means a class of students within the ages of 7-9, there are very many different things that I may
observe that could lead me to believe the student may possess some kind of disability.
Even though there are many different types of learning disabilities, some indications in a
third grader could be stutters while reading aloud or not being able to correctly interpret the
meaning of things read in a textbook, not being able to memorize multiplication facts that other
students are catching on to (of the factors 0-10), signs of anxiety such as irritability, constantly
being excessively tired, and not being able to concentrate (Lyness, 2014), or seeing that the
student has other very close friends that have a learning disability. Signs that the young student
could have a speech disorder would be constant articulation issues or not being able to say
sounds and words correctly even when there is no pressure or request to do so but not when
there is (Turnbull, 2012, p.133). If a student ages 7-9 had an emotional or behavioral disorder,
some indications may be appearing to always be sad or tearful, appearing to be disconnected
from groups of people and in their own world consistently, regularly having acts of aggression
and not listening to any instruction, or being alone on a regular basis.
As a third grade teacher, the State of Arizona Math Standards contains some concepts
that must be put into your lesson plans, and conveyed to each student. One of the many is
Multiply and divide within 100 (Arizona State Board of Education, 2010). If a child cannot
figure out multiplication facts such as 5x4, or solve the equation 40/8, the root of the problem

Case Study

must be found, whether it is the way it is being taught, or if the child possesses a mathematical
disability. Another state standard for math is Solve problems involving measurement and
estimation of intervals of time, liquid volumes, and masses of objects (Arizona State Board of
Education, 2010).The student must be able to correctly solve word problems and equations
involving things like liters and kilograms or half past four oclock, in order to meet the standard.
An additional math standard for third graders in Arizona is Use place value understanding and
properties of operations to perform multi-digit arithmetic (Arizona State Board of Education,
2010). Examples of this would be recognizing that a zero must be placed to hold the ones spot
in the second multiplication step of 11x12, or that 10/20 would involve more than a one digit
answer, rather a decimal or fraction.
An accommodation that could be made for a student to make learning more accessible
considering the principles of the Universal Design for Learning would be to take a different
approach other than teaching the ideas by writing examples on paper, and having the student
show their knowledge by taking a test on paper. Instead, using objects like little blocks of
combinations of 1, 5, 10, and 100, or things that can be cut or broken into pieces like paper or
large stick pretzels can all be used to teach and convey the understanding of ideas like fractions
and multiplication. Another accommodation that could be made for learning measurements
would be actually allowing the student to take a test with objects that would let the student
visually demonstrate the problem, and use a hands-on approach to demonstrate the
knowledge, rather than have to figure everything out in his/her head.

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To ensure the success of these students, a teacher can utilize things that are done
outside of school, at home with their parents, to continue learning topics currently being
worked on. For example, a parent could continue education of fractions while cooking dinner
and cutting up ingredients, and allowing the student to recognize that the more cuts that are
made, the smaller the fraction is. A parent could ask the student to identify how much more
time there is until they are going to do an activity like going to bed, and then ask the child to
indicate when a quarter of an hour has gone by. These activities do not necessarily need to only
be executed by a parent. If the child has already been identified as having a disability, and
receives respite services, the provider could be informed of what the child is currently learning,
and carry on activities while with the child to continue learning the subjects.
Another way a teacher could utilize interaction that the student has, rather than
between the child and teacher, would be to encourage group activity with another person. Two
students could be paired with one worksheet, but instead of having to solve the problems, just
be required to explain how they would get the answer. By doing this, a child of the same age
mindset may be able to relay information in terms that the paired student may be able to
understand better. By taking advantage of this situation, a teacher may begin to realize certain
terms that better relate with a student that makes new ideas easier to grasp.
A website that discusses some inclusive practices that could be used to teach math is
TeacherVision, more specifically the article Teaching Strategies for Using Materials in an
Inclusive Classroom (Teaching Strategies). Basically, the article discusses using group work and
breaking problems down into different components in order to help students solve

Case Study

mathematical problems. The only part of this article that I might not agree with is putting
groups of four-five students together. I think that this number of students may appear to be
scary to some students, and cause them to step back and allow the other students to do the
work. I think smaller groups are essential in making every student feel comfortable in speaking
up and participating.
Another website that could be used for inclusive learning is The School of Education
(Land, 2004). I think that the most important piece of advice given in this article is that
communication between special education teachers and general education teachers is critical.
In order to be on the same page for specific students, both instructors need to be in constant
contact about strategies that the student thrives with, ideas that have not been successful and
why they both think that is, and how to handle situations that arise because of the disability. It
is so important for both teachers to know what is going on in the others classroom so that the
student can be as successful as possible.
The final website is by far the most useful resource. The Inclusive Schools Network
website offers the option to sign up for a newsletter, that will give constant updates and tips of
how to make a classroom more inclusive, and new techniques that can be tried in order to help
special education students learn. The statement that really hit me from this website was, As
such, effective models of inclusive education not only benefit students with disabilities, but also
create an environment in which every student, including those who do not have disabilities, has
the opportunity to flourish (Inclusive Schools Network). This wraps up everything that an
inclusive education should be: every single student should be taken into consideration in order

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to create strategies for learning. If an idea does not help every child learn to their best possible
ability, then something needs to be revised in order for that to happen.
The Council for Exceptional Children website offers webinars that all teachers can sign
up for. By doing this, instructors are continually hearing new approaches that can be taken in
order to benefit special education students. The best way to expand knowledge is to
collaborate with other people who are involved in special education, and webinars are the
perfect way to do this. (CEC Webinars)
Another national organization that can aide continuing professional development for
teachers is the National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Their website
offers all different types of resources in order to further improve a persons teaching methods.
Everything from news about education, to summaries of conferences that have occurred can be
found on the site. The NAEYC also has a blog, and the option to sign up for a newsletter.

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Arizona State Board of Education (2010, June 28). Retrieved October 25, 2014, from

CEC Webinars. (n.d.). Retrieved October 25, 2014, from

Inclusive Schools Network. (n.d.). Retrieved October 25, 2014, from

Land, S. (2004, December 1). Effective Teaching Practices for Students in Inclusive Classrooms.
Retrieved October 25, 2014, from

Lyness, A. (2014, March 1). Anxiety Disorders. Retrieved October 25, 2014, from

National Association for the Education of Young Children | NAEYC. (n.d.). Retrieved October 25,
2014, from

Teaching Strategies for Using Materials in an Inclusive Classroom. (n.d.). Retrieved October 25,
2014, from

Turnbull, A., Turnbull, R., Wehmeyer, M. L. & Shogren, K. A. (2012). Exceptional Lives: Special
Education in Todays Schools (7th ed.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.