Commitment to Students and Student Learning -Parent Communication and Parents as Partners Involvement……………………..

1 -Character Education…………3 -Literacy focus…..………………6 -Feedback Improvements….15 -Reflection on Special Education………………………….17 -Explanation of Items…………19 Social Skills Lesson Literacy based lesson plan Improved Marking Habits Special Education Ideas


Parental Inclusion in the Classroom The issue of parental involvement has become a major point of professional development for our school over the past few months. We are well aware that parent teacher interviews are by far the most practical and important point of communication and school involvement for parents, but in our school, the parents who really needed to be there would not show up, whether by choice or a matter of availability. Notably, parents are often away on work for extended amounts of time. We looked at the issue from the basic, day-to-day level though. The more consistency we can create about homework and general projects, the better. Parents seem to feel most involved when, firstly, they feel able to access information themselves on the subject matter being discussed, and secondly, feel confident that they can enforce a homework routine, equipped with a knowledge of what is being done in class. To facilitate this we are sending home weekly newsletters to parents that include upcoming events, schedules, community-type requests, a note from the principal, and an outline of the homework/projects due in each grade. The latter are submitted to the secretary by each teacher and compiled into the newsletter. (We are a smaller school). This goes home either by a physical or emailed letter to each family. We included the homework outline on the newsletter because we realized it was difficult for some parents to distinguish the regular work from the major assignments, and it just provided some clarity. Regarding agendas, we had quite the difficulty implementing these, which were to be signed nightly by parents. Some of our teachers did not like the idea of the agenda, and many parents did not want to be bothered. However, we did push its use, and were sure to drop hints about how to 1

practically involve the agenda’s signing into the daily home routine for parents whenever we were in contact with them. Although it was difficult to implement a change of habits in the school, parents soon came to realize the value of the daily agenda. Parents felt included and knowledgeable about classroom routines and expectations enough to enforce homework time even when some children might claim they had none. We have also come to realize that parents often feel in the dark about the subject matter. To address this, we began posting helpful website links which are related to that particular content or skill alongside our homework summaries in the newsletter. Beginning this September, we will encourage all parents to receive an emailed copy as well so that they might easily access these links on the web. Being electronically connected both for assignments and subject matter has been significant for our parents (especially dads) who are away, and yet want to stay informed enough to help their children when they come home. Surprisingly, many parents actually feel embarrassed or unwilling to speak with the teacher more regularly because they feel incompetent in the subject, guilty they don’t have more time to spend with their child’s schooling, or silly that they don’t even know which questions to ask about where their kids are at. As a result, they avoid taking steps to be involved with their children’s learning almost as much as the students, at times! It is our responsibility to equip parents with foundational knowledge and with structures by which to access their children’s learning, discussing it openly. They are ALL extremely grateful for it, too. When that teacher- student-parent triangle is working regularly there are no surprises on the report card. Students also realize that their education matters long before any disapproving looks are received upon showing a report card.


Social Skills: Preventing Rumours and Bad-Mouthing Grade: 6 Objective: Helping to neutralize “hot-headed” friends and restore a sense of self-worth.

Materials: Video Model Large Display Paper and markers Appropriate number of role-play card sets Journal entry booklets

Prior Knowledge: -Awareness of some of negative results of bullying activities -Awareness that bullying of any description is against the rules and will be dealt with.

Lesson: Introduction:  Students are presented with a video depicting two student at a locker, the one staring bitterly at a peer down the hall who is receiving much attention from one of the boys, owing to a new hair-doo. The envious friend makes a sly comment to the one beside her: “That doo probably cost her $120. She’ll do anything for attention. She sure gets around. She needs it, too.”… Though the scenario continues, the second girl has a choice: go along with her friend’s bitter rant and risk marginalizing herself from this girl with the hair-doo, or put things in perspective for her friend. She is not “standing-up” for the girl; she is minding her business, which is to be a friend where it counts, refocusing her friend’s attention. That her friend interprets it this way, and not the former, is key. Students who understand the difference will feel empowered to take subtle control when their friends go placed they don’t respect. The friend essentially responds that this girl isn’t made of money, and offers that it might well have been a birthday present. She admits she wouldn’t mind that birthday present, and begs the question whether a certain boy wouldn’t give her friend some attention with an expensive doo as well. (Finishes scenario by complimenting friend instead of inviting a fight).

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Theory:  While walking past the “hair-doo,” the friend can quip over to her that she doubts she was noticed for the first time by the boy today. Effectively, she just bridged the gap between her friend and this third party by being seen speaking to her, and without condemnation. It never makes her friend explicitly uncomfortable, denies her friend the satisfaction of being on “her side,” offers her a convenient out for an impulsive and selfish comment, and ensures the loyalty and respect of “Hairdoo” (Innocent) when the tendency of her friend’s comments might easily slip and make “Hair-doo” even assume she was against her as well. Openly talking with the class about all the misassumptions and hurtful statements which could have come from the scenario upon reading the first bullet should be directed through a mind-map: -Create a circular mind-map outline with 3-5 stages. -Use sub-points to include the scenarios suggested -Lead the students to hypothesize, if this was in their school, where a given statement might likely lead the friends. Encourage answers to be honest, with commonplace reactions in mind. -Attempt to direct the in-creation mind-map into a circular pattern, indicating the tendency of these thoughtless, or even negative common-place reactions to lead to a cycle of negativity. One might even write increasingly negative words down the left side margin, indicating that with each cycle, the distance, envy, and fear gets worse. Read out the latter half of the scenario, rehearsing again what positive elements came out of the way the girl chose to handle her friend’s attitude and comments. Mind-map this scenario as well, emphasizing the results of this cycle with increasingly positive words along the right margin. Finish the mind-map, which now has at least one negative and positive cycle each, by drawing a stick figure who is alone on the left, and a stick figure who stands out from the crowd. Draw an arrow from the right to the left, and a bridge in between, indicating that the strength of the person on the right can also heal peoples’ wounds. They aren’t just “goodie-two-shoes.”

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Activity (Connections):    Divide students into groups of 4 Provide scenario card packages with the following roles: Mean-spirited Friend; Respected Friend; Innocent Peer; Teacher Each role card may involve a similar scenario. Cards should also have specific group facilitation roles for students to take over, such as question-reader, response recorder, and Speaker, and Presenter. (Speaker summarizes or clarifies group responses into a single, unanimous response. Presenter conveys this information to the class when groups come together. Roles can be switched up every once in a while, too). Lead questions will guide students through the mind-mapping process again, and encourage deep thought about the possible outcomes in responses, and their impact on friendships.

Extension:   Bring students back to their seats, and thank them for the effort they placed into the activity. Collect their responses or have the Presenter share them now. Students will hopefully see some commonalities, and begin seeing themselves in each scenario. For further extension, read a brief story about a successful diplomat and a crisis avoided between two nations. Ancient history (which to them includes the 1800s) is always great.


Assessment: Students will be marked as a group on the insight, clarity of response, and class-time effort and participation displayed on the group-scenario activities. A small journal entry on why they respect the diplomat in the story will provide a concrete subject for students (as opposed to the slightly theoretical topics in the activity), will provide something new to address (after a full lesson) and will likely include evidence of the thought processes and concepts gained by the student by means of referenced vocabulary.

Reflection:     Did students display signs of interest during the beginning of the lesson? Did students display evidence of understanding during the lesson? Did students take the activity seriously, or were there signs of frustration and lack of comprehension? Did the journal entries resemble or include reference to the central lesson?

Rationale: The role card names use adjectives which will help instil a sense of natural respect, and even strength to students who may tend to approach such intimate activities without due seriousness. Above all, it is an educational goal to present these “positive behaviours” as far more than just appropriate for school, but as real virtues of courage, loyalty, and respect. That our actors develop a true respect for the virtue of our characters is critical. This lesson may take a double block. It can be divided up into smaller sections if necessary, thus representing effective “mini-lesson”. If need be, the negative model mind-map can even be separated from the positive model, if three or four slots are required. Likely a 60-80 minute lesson plan. END


---------------------------------------------------------------------------David MacLean July 4, 2012 Jr Lesson Plan, Module II 5-Day Junior Lesson Plan, Grade 6: Interpreting Media Formats to Better Access Social Studies Content of Canadian International Relations The purpose of this lesson unit is to focus on Social Studies grade 6 Ontario Curriculum content. Expanding students’ awareness of “community” as a term and central concept will involve focussing on the importance and various forms of Canada’s relationships internationally. This goal requires familiarity and comfort with interpreting the purpose, voice, and type of information provided by typical news media formats. Student success will be obvious when each learner can successfully:  identify the type of media each content piece is structured within  discuss general patterns and specific messages gained by correctly interpreting the following: individual or group/company authorship; tone; likely audience; quality of or presence of proof/evidence; use of statistics; recognition or invocation of higher authority; types of arguments  evaluate the usefulness, validity, and purpose of a given media article  consult with group members or learning guides to form an opinion as to the truth or relevance of an article or media type.

Assessment of student learning throughout the lesson will consist of:  assessing where students are at in their familiarity with media formats initially. (Use a scatter graph to record where students tend to be, according to a pre-conceived 1-5 ranking as a rubric).  Gaining a sense of where students are at throughout the activities. -Consult with individual groups throughout the class time to clarify tasks, answer questions about content they are encountering, and provide personal mini models of a text interpretation.  Engaging students in class-wide votes to first hear and value student opinions, but also guide their developing professional opinions by commenting on the accuracy of their assessments, and providing the rationale for your statements.  Flipping double faced cards of red and green on desk at end of each lesson to provide teacher with an indication of the understanding level, (red for “meeting some snags” and green for “I’m getting the gist of this.”)  Generating criteria for an evaluation rubric on first day, distributing this on the second day  Giving final evaluation marks to groups and individuals.


Prior knowledge must be had by all students:  Having seen examples of each media type in class before  Having been aware that companies and citizens are not always confined to their own country to work and play  Having been familiar with recording data in relevant boxes  Prior experience working in groups to role-play, structure an interview, and prepare a simple power-point presentation; such experiences typically trains students to assign one another roles for more efficient use of time, which teacher checks up on routinely).

Curriculum Expectations/Focus:  Students will analyze a variety of media types to identify voice, tone, authorship, text format, audience.  Students will be able to discuss multiple ways Canada is globally connected, and how its citizens are affected by such international relationships.  The teacher will define multiple media types and develop the students’ appreciation for each by providing them real exposure.  The teacher will model the process of technically interpreting and evaluating media forms for the purpose of evaluating the message and relevance of the content.  The teacher will guide student exposure to each media type by structuring packages of real-life examples, all with relevant and accessible content and literacy forms, the connections amongst which will provide unique challenges to all learners.  The teacher will provide structured incentives and regular group engagement activities to direct and guide student energies.  Comprehension will be monitored and facilitated by the use of familiar media forms, familiar or accessible vocabulary, a foundational discussion regarding the value of the exercises, comparison of formative assessments with final assessments, and the use of teacher-analysis regarding the depth and accuracy of responses provided according to discussion-based rubric expectations.  Questioning levels may be divided according to: simple comprehension for content discussed and correct matching or labeling; connections to related content studied by individuals or comparisons to the findings of peers; practical or hypothetical extensions to other fields, or recognition of implications.  Questioning levels may be implemented through class discussions, votes, brainstorming, correct matching/labeling, regurgitation or compilation of information in alternative formats, peer consultation, student-teacher consultation, leading-question comprehension pages, and student-initiated questions for peers.  Graphic organizers will include: student matching and comments upon evaluating a media form and its potential message; group consultation in the form of process of elimination; mindmapping of cycles, connection webs, and degrees of separation trees; development of simple graphs based on information provided.


Materials and Preparation by Teacher:  A compiled collection of newspaper clips, Stats-Canada or other authoritative statistics provider charts and graphs, editorial cartoons, blog excerpts (or Internet addresses), non-copyrighted you-tube clips (to be watched only together), and popular and private magazine articles, all with particular Canadian content issues with regards to international relations.  Many of the above items to be organized into pre-set group activity packages of: articles/media forms; an appropriate number of forms for each student in a group; as well as one group page to be filled out. As there are 4 to a group, approximately 8 articles are in a package, 4 of which are less reading-intensive (image-based).  White board, overhead projector or LCD projector, some access to computers in class or lab, large lined paper for group brainstorming, graphing paper  Large lists of possible answers for students while filling out their sheets; example: audiences, types of authorship, etc.  Prepared handouts for media identification and suggested function of international relationships  Prepared rubrics  Sticky note pads (sections for each student)  “Green/Red Comprehension voter input cards” for speedy, ongoing formative assessments  media-type-specific lead cards with general comprehension questions (several per type)  Vocabulary cards with the likely difficult words from each article; teacher must record these while skimming through and choosing articles  Video camera or scene-setting props

Differentiated Learning will be addressed through the use of:  Diversity: Complimenting skill-sets held amongst pre-planned group members  Accommodations: o Older student buddies or educational assistants to read wordy articles out loud to learners who struggle with reading time, but not necessarily vocabulary o Edited choice articles, either at lower reading levels, or with teacher-created vocabulary keys on the side for learners who struggle with vocabulary or higher levels of comprehension. o Quiet workplaces for those who are more easily stressed by the prospect of sorting through a number of sources, or who do not handle group activity noise levels well. o Printed page of steps to be taken in order to stay on task for those who are easily distracted or overwhelmed.  Modifications: to tasks by the use of fewer options to sift through, elimination of groupbrainstorming tasks, response comments as opposed to connection/extension invitations representing primary material for evaluations.


Instruction Day 1: Pre-Reading - Familiarization with formats: Teacher shows a power point image or overhead projector image of a news media example and asks for student volunteers to pick the best identifying label from a pre-written set of options on the whiteboard. A brief explanation for the media type’s purpose and a brief rehearsal of what type of information we can likely gather from it is then given by the teacher before the next example is identified. Text-based and Image-based articles are distinguished. Humorous anecdotes or silly examples are just fine for this activity, as it will spark off lots of ideas and questions in students’ minds. Task Preparation: Teacher provides long-term goal/mission to students, arranges groups, gives task instructions for the immediate activity, and distributes pre-set packages of articles/media forms, personal forms to fill out, and one large group page to groups. (Packages are similar, but not identical, necessarily). Large print pages are hung at the front of the room with possible answers listed which the students may consult while filling in their activity sheet to follow. Reading – Article examination: Students examine a set of newspaper articles, articles by the editor, caricature editorials, maps, charts, and magazine images, all of which have something to do with Canada’s international relationships. Such content may include: companies requiring one another’s products, companies which choose to manufacture in other countries, the use of tariffs, celebration of celebrities, economic interests, and geographic location/trends/patterns, etc. It is recognized, however, that the content is not highly accessible, or may seem dense. This exercise represents a scaffolded approach to such media forms, as each on its own is, in fact, essentially accessible by the average grade 6 reader. Students fill in a personal page with small annotation boxes, identifying:  What the article seems to be out: key phrases, names, terms  Where it comes from: author? Company? Media source? (personal opinion; MacLean’s; MSNBC)  What kind of people usually read this? (Rehears term, “audience”). There is only one article in each package which will fit each of the various media-type options listed in box-chart form on the group page. Students then fill in the one title for each media-type box. (The process of elimination helps solidify the correct answer for students yet unsure). Towards the end of this segment, the teacher can place bits of rolled tape in evenly spread clusters on sectioned-off areas of the whiteboard or other bulletin areas. Students will apply their handouts to the correct media-type area for class viewing/discussion. Students are instructed to wrap up what they are doing, and hear the instructions for applying their articles up top. Students first choose a text-based and image-based article from amongst the 8-10 in front of them from the package, sign them, and then post them up.


Post Reading: Teacher observes where they have been placed, quiets the class, and proceeds to walk class through each classification by picking an article from a category to discuss. The signer may be called upon to update the class on what may have been the content of the article or consult about the details (keeping in mind students have not thoroughly read through these). Incorrectly placed articles can be moved to the appropriate space (not embarrassing the owner, but justifying how a mistake may be honest or even legitimate). Students are told they will collect their signed text articles and take them home to read them once and make a list of at least 10 words they either do not know, or rarely use. Students are instructed to fetch their articles group by group while those seated fill in their day’s agendas. Image-based articles are to be left on the board for the teacher to collect. (For redistribution later).

Day 2: Materials:  media-type-specific lead cards with general comprehension questions (several per type)  vocabulary cards with the likely difficult words from each article  title of each text article written/posted along side wall of class Pre-Reading – Students are all given vocab cards with definitions. At the teacher’s “Go” command, all students search for those which apply to their lists from home, and fill in the appropriate definition on their own vocab set. (Students not finished their homework, and thus with no words to be purposefully searching for on the lists will be expected to record 5 definitions per card). Each student will record at least one definition at the bottom of their page for participation’s sake, even if no vocab words apply. If running out of time with each round, students will simply record the number of the card they are working with, and return to it later. After 3 minutes, the teacher will call “time” and have the cards passed on to the person beside them. Continue 3-4 more times (15 minutes total). Taking their text article with them, students then find their article title on the wall, and the subsequently formed groups of 2-3 compare their knowledge of the vocabulary in the article, helping one another fill in their vocab sheets, either with set definitions or from their head. (Students, by habit, know to place a happy face beside each definition they did not directly copy, alerting the teacher to pay more careful attention to these, but also provide some feedback in terms of what they tend to naturally know). Students are told they will be given 10 minutes for this, but must also complete a comprehension activity before computer time stations can be visited. Students are given permission to re-seat themselves or stay near the counter to complete the task together.


Reading: By virtue of the naturally formed groups, the teacher comes around and hands out the applicable reading comprehension cards (enough for each member, though identical). Students will use the next five minutes to compare notes on the topic of the article, as per the first lead question, “What does this article tell us about Canada?” (Depth and direction of answers may vary considerably, depending on reading levels, but discussion will be generated). Students are then directed to the bottom of the page, where they may briefly look over the options available to them as a small group regarding how they might convey the message of this media: quick drama or pantomime (signs can be used); power point presentation; newscast interview; two to three-way role-play discussion presenting professional opinions on the “issue.” First and second choices are picked. Students are then directed back to the individual seats to continue with the reading comprehension questions on their own, offering them time to relax, get away from noise, and examine the text thoroughly, now better equipped than before to handle the article. The teacher, having noted the group members in the background, will call each group up together, starting with those most likely to understand the article quickest, and encourage or cooperatively assign a group presentation option best suited to the article. Students may finish their vocab definitions by consulting the cards if they had required that extra time before, or may use the time to complete one of the ten necessary journal entries for the month (a classroom habit which helps spread the workload with some flexibility, as opposed to mounting tasks…journal entries may include pictures or song/poetry lyrics for the more creative of the bunch…journal entries may or may not include lead questions on the board). Article responses are handed in, regardless of whether finished or not. Post-reading: Students are given half-size pages with 7-8 options for a news clip section of 5 minutes (typically composed of an intro, possible animations, video clips, an on-sight interview, and possible an expert opinion/debate style discussion on the issue). Students are told that either during or after the article (some time to be given), they are to number the stages of the broadcast. Students read through the options, opportunity for questions is given, and then students are exposed to the full news media video clip.


Day 3: Materials/Preparation:  Make up individual group project cards, specific to the article and task which these students may likely excel at (interview, pwr-pt pres., etc). Strategically arrange groups so that a full news cast, tracing some specific issues on Canadian relations comes out with unity, when presentations are placed back to back in a news-reel order. Tweeks can be made as a class the following day.  Place signs and brief instructions to help direct “station” traffic  Article responses to be lightly marked, and a sentence of written feedback offered per student. If it must be completed, this will be homework for the following night.  Simple interview question lead sheet (generic); one for every group Pre-Reading: Students fill out a mindmap of Canadian issues as they recall their articles from the last day’s reading. Discussion of topics is generated and may provide some direction for the final project, depending on noted interests. Some connection to where we usually find these issues discussed (humorously, seriously, creatively) within the media types we’ve seen so far may be strategically made here. Reading: Students are guided through the news clip viewed yesterday again, this time with teacher summarizing comments upon the issues being discussed. Students’ project cards are then distributed along with their marked comprehension assignments, time is given to read either, and then open questions are welcomed. Students are instructed to be in the designated areas as per their project focus, arranging desks and acquiring supplies as directed. They are given 30-40 minutes to prepare their presentations.

Post reading: students interview another group on the issue they are covering, and how they are doing so, using a set of lead interviews questions.


Day 4: Pre-Reading: Discussion of where groups are at, giving class a sense of where this is going, who is covering what, and what the final project may hopefully look like. Students prepare their own mindmap of what they have done as a group, including reference to some of the Canadian issues they are covering.

Reading: Students work to compile, do finishing touches on their projects, and then present in order, filming the full presentation. Some quick edits or segues may be in order. Post-Reading: Students attach the re-distributed image-based texts from original group packages according to applicable categories outlined on whiteboard (using tape again), and then as a class discuss where they might include these articles in their full news-reel presentation.

Day 5: Preparation:  Teacher scans in the chosen clips and order them in a movie maker file using the collected files of student work and digital video files  Teacher also films himself/herself acting as a professional news anchor, tying in the clips together Pre-Reading: Do a Quiz/Worksheet, the content of which is based on the readings, and the purpose of which is to expose students to new concepts of Canadian culture, identity, or relations. Reading: Commentary article to be read, addressing Canadian international relations today. Post-reading: Students view the final video version of the filmed role-plays, created power points, filmed interviews, and segued editorials. Students will think it is hilarious to see their teacher as the “star” of the show, and will be thoroughly please with their contributing efforts, placed well in sequence. Reflection:  Did learners seem engaged, on task, and focussed?  Were there points of confusion, down-time, or wasted time?  Were any students frustrated or overwhelmed?  Did all learners express excitement, an “aha!” moment, or otherwise convey their interest at least twice throughout the week’s activities?  Did I feel comfortable, appropriately challenged, and personally engaged by the preparation and implementation of these lessons?  Did the amount of preparation justify the amount of learning and exposure students gained?


Rationale: Students in grade 6 are highly energetic and creative, but often lack the organizational skills or depth of thinking on their own to create meaningful presentations of what they know. This week-long project will help familiarize students enough with the media types which they should learn about and may likely want to present with, and which typically house the Social Studies content being addressed in real life. Working with this content through scaffolded activities which model the issues and skills, then allows for self-preparation and familiarity, and then connections and extensions through group consultation and presentations will boost every student’s confidence level in terms of professional and casual social skills, literacy and media skills and familiarity, and academic exposures. This final project allows ample time for students to focus on the relevant skills, and have fun doing so, while letting the teacher do the organizational work which would otherwise hinder the production of high quality student-initiated presentations amongst junior grade learners.


T-Chart of Marking and Evaluation Improvement Strategies Here a few common phrases I have used or have seen on assignments. As a note, I tend to staple a post-it sized printout of generic criteria (which they should be addressing all the time) to quickie assignments. I used to have typed the numbers 1-5 beside each area, but this was becoming projectlevel marking for small assignments. More practically, I now specify (with some reduced criteria) that if a 1 is circled I’d recommend you place your focus on this area next time, or if a 2, you’ve done noticeably well in this area. I tell them that a 1 does not mean it is wrong or you did poorly here, just that “if I had to choose something for you to work on, it would probably be this area.” This provides constructive guidance especially to the over-achievers who can be quite sensitive about feedback at the grade 6 level. Throw Away Phrase Number system for quick assignments (1-5) What I Meant Was… Often used, and can be useful. The significance of a number may vary from teacher to teacher though. Rubrics should not only be explained at the beginning of the term, but a copy maintained in student notebooks. Habitually, this might be used differently depending on the student, but really, if something else is meant other than what was interpreted on the generic rubric, alternative wording should be used. An interpretation might look like this: “You seem to understand the content here, are using the related skills, and are probably making good connections, indicating a high degree of effort and thought. Be sure to keep these points in mind for further investigations.” Often used for incomplete. This should be intentionally assigned as a phrase either to refer to the sentence format or the student’s addressing content. “Take a careful look at the expectations provided with this assignment. If you are thinking of some items but have not included them in writing here, you’ll need to do so or I’ll assume you’re not confident in this area. You’re welcome to resubmit this page or come chat.” Might be interpreted as the vernacular for “this is fine” whereas it means, “this will pass” or “I think I get your drift,” either of which are not terribly constructive items of feedback. They are more a point for the marker and should be recorded elsewhere as a note to discuss this with the student further, clarifying his/her position.





Students will do a lot for a sticker if given on an occasional basis. Awarding for personal effort as opposed to class-wide high standards should be avoided, as jealous students will immediately assume favouritism and miss the teacher’s rationale, unaware of the student’s personal achievement and unwilling to hear a justification for the reward. “You have surpassed class-wide expectations” or “You have achieved a 15




perfect score. Well done. Note the hardest problem here to help toward your efforts for another perfect score next time.” One might even create a “highest number of perfect scores” award in the class for the end of the year based on these. “This is an acknowledgement that you have covered or are understanding a specific area for evaluation, related directly to your expectations assignment guide. This point specifically is where some of your marks come from. Are there any places you think you should have received a checkmark?” (Unless interpreted on a rubric, students will sometimes judge the quality of their paper simply by how many checkmarks they see. Explain that checks should only be considered when they are trying to figure out why they received a certain mark). “If further comments start with this term, it simply means some connecting ideas are being offered to you by the teacher which, if remembered, will likely earn you a level 4 on the upcoming project.” “If comments start with this term it means you will need to make more explicit mention of these particular connecting ideas if you want a level 3 on your upcoming major project.”


Special Education – Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

Special Education Teaching and Activity Strategies Grade 6 Arts Program Introduction
C is a likeable and good natured student in grade 6 who deals with FSD. As there are other students who require regular attention as well, an Educational Assistant is often in the room, or available from nearby. C is in the process of being weaned away from constant attention from the EA who uses a watchful eye technique. During subjects with considerable routine, and where self-direction is possible for the majority of the class, C does well to use a variety of adaptations in behavioural expectations, and some modifications to content. He enjoys the Arts-based courses very much, but must be paid careful attention to. There is a large amount of interaction expected of the class during some components of these courses. C must be given the benefit of these times, especially to develop his ability to socialize with other students in appropriate ways. Too much interaction will be interpreted by C as a lack of structure, as he will not recognize the purpose of the lesson nearly as easily as other students. To maintain his focus and his sense of security, the following techniques are employed:

Adaptation and Modifications –
 C often goes for individual reading assistance in the hall with a senior peer about 15 minutes prior to Music/Arts class. The EA takes over just prior and begins his music class privately with C to minimize the EA’s explicit coming in to “get him” in front of the class. The music teacher often stops to talk with them both in the hall just prior to commencing the class inside. A brief description of the content to be covered by C is written on a coloured page which C recognizes as his instruction page colour. The music teacher will usually have a new music history reading passage to go through, though C often will progress through these at only half the rate of the other students. He may continue occasionally with the previous day’s literacy-focus passage. The EA then works with C in a hands-on way, despite not being overly familiar with musical concepts herself. A small digital recorder is used to record C’s progress as he has been reading some basic rhythms through with a solfege book of progressive exercises. Rhythm is C’s specialty. This puts him into the mindset of Music. The EA will either guide him to the next lesson or have him record it again, as she sees fit. C loves the digital recorder and has been perfecting his “takes” by his own initiative as well lately.

After a few minutes, the EA will read through the points of today’s lesson as indicated by the prep page, and then he returns from his “reading time” on his own and joins the class who are now just finishing up the introductory lesson.


C is part of the class and will join in their group work. He will always be placed with his “buddy” (assigned to him for a week at a time). The buddy will not necessarily explain everything to him, as the purpose and intent is likely beyond him. He does ensure that the group is not distancing themselves from him though. If C can passively observe or add some input, this is fine, otherwise, the EA will likely sidle up to him and get him to participate in the group by “recording what is happening.” This is done by drawing one of the terms he has heard, writing the lyrics to a song about it, or writing a short journal entry. A crossword related to the lesson, involving the relevant terms can often be made available as well. These can easily be printed off on a crossword website and tailored to the lesson. These activities may be continued individually as the class is seated again. He may passively listen to performances as he is able to focus. If he gets rowdy, the teacher will often direct him to a self-check picture book he keeps with him, and will continue with the individual work. As soon as the class is set to work again, the teacher will come over to chat casually with C for a minute. Here, he will also tap out a rhythm which is related to that day’s musical theme. He may also quickly sing an ostinato from a piece which was listened to, instructing C to listen to a specific song available as an email attachment. C might be told to record the time at which he hears the ostinato again in the song. He might also record himself singing the ostinato on the digital recorder device.

 

Homework such as this will be done at school at any time when he is alone with the EA, which is still frequent throughout the course of a day. His EA often has access to a computer for him, and can help him open up the emails which teacher’s may have sent him. This routine has been successful and favoured by his other teachers as well, as it means less time is spent prepping the EA face to face, which is not always necessary).


Rationale for Included Items
Parents as Partners
Parental inclusion ultimately brings a higher quality of education to the student, owing to the student’s knowledge of the value his or her parent places on education. Time spent and interest taken translates to value assigned, and students need to be privy to this in consistent, productive ways. This personally written piece demonstrates the need for regularly evaluating the nature of the parent-student-teacher triangle and seeks productive directions for improvement or change. Upholding parents is a surprisingly direct way of upholding and valuing students.

Social Skills Lesson
In terms of survival, both at school and for success after graduation, social skills are a must, even trumping academic abilities in some scenarios. Though a child’s character and ability to interact has traditionally been understood to be the natural result of his or her upbringing – a responsibility of the family or home content – the changing roles of these aforementioned require increased assistance from the schools. Deliberate instruction in social skills provides a rationale for behavioural expectations enforced by the school, even if these are not modeled or expected outside of the school. Ultimately, social skills serve and value the student.

Improved Marking Habits
Improvements in marking feedback as demonstrated here acknowledge the necessity of providing meaningful, habitually examined, and supportive feedback. Though formal evaluations exist as a necessary, highly thought-out system used by educators, such assessments rarely mean little more to a student than a form of chastisement, and even degradation. Students must be trained in how to improve, not just told they need to improve. Marking signs and rationales must be easily interpreted by students if students are to gain and feel confident to try harder.

Literacy-based Lesson Plan
A strategic approach to course work implementation now involves consciously teaching specific literacy types. A well-rounded educational philosophy admits that true learning takes place with a relative absence of subject-borders or categorizations. Literacy-types go hand in hand with cross-curricular learning. Additionally, they help students focus on the skills involved across these course fields, ultimately leading them to value their education as they feel confident to apply greater clusters of knowledge and analytical sense to new tasks. Literacy prioritizes students over that of contentcompletion.

Special Education Activities
Students with exceptionalities have wonderful ways of contributing to a school community. Being “handled” or “dealt with” in an off-handed way is a type of exclusion. On the contrary, when a teacher involves multiple resources, physical and human, including his own peers as support, the student is supported and valued. Noticeably, every properly implemented strategy for assisting exceptional students ultimately alerts the teacher to what universal improvements might be made for the sake of the general class, and everyone benefits from a higher quality of education.


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