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Section One Case One: It appears as though Micha has gone through and witnessed a lot of traumatic experiences in his personal life. He has not found a healthy outlet for his emotions, which results in some of his behaviors in and outside of the classroom. Micha seems to be dealing with issues related to emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). Some important factors of EBD that are important for me to remember as I think about accommodations for Micha are that it is difficult to understand and make sense of this type of challenging behavior because each child with EBD expresses themselves in different ways, thus it is hard to pinpoint and define challenging behaviors. The variability aspect of the disorder is also a challenge and something that teachers need to be aware of. As with all students, teachers do not know what mood their students may be in on a day to day basis. Some days Micha is engaged in the classroom, and other times he is combative towards other students. Also, it appears as though family risk factors are the main reason why Micha is experiencing these issues with EBD. Some of those risk factors include: “community and family violence”, “difficult temperament”, “maternal deprivation”, and “harsh unpredictable discipline” (Monda-Amaya 9/13/12). Due to Micha‟s family history, we can assume that he is experiencing some or most of those factors in his home. As a teacher, I need to ensure that I am not contributing to any more trauma or distress for Micha. I need to make sure that the classroom has effective instruction, good behavior management, appropriate expectations for my students, and a sensitivity to each student‟s individuality (Monda-Amaya 9/13/12). Mostly, I need to make sure that Micha understands and feels as though school is a safe haven. He has 1
expectations to perform, but I also understand that accommodations need to be made in order to make him feel comfortable in his surroundings. Working on his social skills and allowing adjusting homework expectations are the main aspects of the accommodations that I want to provide for Micha. Case Two: Lizzy has a severe reading disability and specifically has problems with decoding. While her listening comprehension is at grade level, she has a hard time with written material especially finding and remembering vocabulary and information in a textbook. It is important to remember that reading and learning disabilities are a result of processing issues. Processing difficulties deal with input or output. Input deals with how a person takes in information and process it, while output deals with how a person expresses information (Monda-Amaya 9/6/12). Lizzy‟s difficulties appear to have more to do with input than output. She has problems with reading print and taking in and remembering information. Decoding issues has to do with sounding out words and putting sounds into words. She may have dyslexia which may mean that she perceives letter as reversed in written text, but it could also mean severe reading disability affects her reading. It is important to remember that while most typical students need 5-7 seconds to process a question or information, students with learning disabilities need an extra 5-7 seconds to process the same information (Monda-Amaya 9/6/12). In the process of memorization, we depend on our working memory to come in contact with new information, link it to our longterm memories in order to help us store that new information (Monda-Amaya 9/6/12). For Lizzy, it may take longer for her working memory to create those connections and as a result, her processing time is longer. Lizzy has appeared to have lost all confidence in herself and has become withdrawn in class discussions. Some key areas that I want to focus on for Lizzy in the
classroom are giving her the tools and accommodations to help her remember and keep track of readings in class so that she feels confident to start participating in class discussions. In addition, I want to help her remember the text and always find ways to have her access the text in a way that helps her decode the language more easily. Case Three: Susan is considered legally blind. This means that Susan has less than 20/200 vision in her better eye with the use of any corrective lenses or glasses. It could also mean that her field of vision is less than 20 degrees in the better eye. Your visual field is the space around the head that can be seen without moving one‟s head. Visual acuity refers to how clearly a person can see at a specific distance (Monda-Amaya 9/20/12). As a teacher, I need to remember that even with modifications like Braille instructions sheets, I need to supplement those instructions with verbal instructions. I could also introduce Susan to some assistive technologies that will help in her aspirations to become a journalist and for her other classes. Another important component in my instruction of Susan is that I help her become a self-advocate her herself and her needs. The process of self-determination is something that I would want to work on with Susan. This is the process where students learn to advocate for themselves. It is the skills, knowledge, and beliefs that enable a person to set goals for themselves and learn how to live and function autonomously. My instruction will mirror and promote this process through the use of successive approximations, by guiding students to finding an answer independently (Monda-Amaya 10/11/12). With Susan specifically, I will help her in this process by helping her find the right assistive technology for my class and her other classes Section Two Question 1. Why am I Response in relation to your unit/lesson We are learning about cause/effect in a documentary unit. The students 3
2. What am I supposed to learn? 3. What do I already know about it?
4. What ideas are important?
5. How is the information organized?
6. How am I going to use it? 7. How am I going to remember it? 8. Where am I going to use it? 9. When am I going to use it? 10. How do I apply it?
have just watched Super Size Me and I want them to think more about the issue of obesity in America. Their goal is to look at the various causes that lead to obesity and figure out the causes that lead to the obesity problem in America. They are doing this exercise in order to practice for their analytical paragraphs that they will be writing in the future. How to derive various cause and effects from certain issues. This will eventually lead to creating analytical paragraphs where the evidence for an assertion will be the cause and effects that one finds. They have already derived cause and effects on a different topic and using a different worksheet. In the previous worksheet, they had to come up with the cause and effect on their own, on the worksheet for this lesson, they will have those given, and they have to fill in the evidence that leads to the effect. Understanding how to find the evidence that leads a cause to an effect. Understanding the issue of obesity is important and what are the various contributors to the epidemic in America—this should come from the articles and the discussion. Being able to transfer the discussion of the articles and the movie to the written worksheet on cause/effect. During the discussion, I will write on the board the main points of each article separately (how the tax improves health, how it harms health). The students will be able to compare and contrast each article by seeing the main points next to each other on the board. The worksheet is divided like a flow-chart, the arrow indicates the flow of the cause down to the effect. When writing their analytical paragraphs of the documentary, the students will use their notes on the cause and effects of the film and it will serve as their evidence in the paragraph. The students will have the worksheet to write down the contributors to the cause and effect that they will keep. The worksheet will be completed in small groups during the class period. They will use their knowledge of cause and effect when they write their analytical paragraphs. This lesson will be completed on a Thursday and the students will begin to work on their analytical paragraphs on Friday. Being able to write and analyze works is something that is applicable to all fields. In any paper that these students will write, the ability to analyze the evidence and to see how things relate, react to, and influence other things is a crucial skill that students need to master and practice.
Section Three Case One:
The main accommodations that I would recommend for managing behavior and providing instruction for Micha would revolve around making him feel as safe and comfortable in the classroom so that he could focus on his school work rather than getting worked up by his emotions. First, before performing this lesson, I will ensure that Micha is surrounded by students who work the best with him by creating assigned seats in the classroom. It is important to create classroom routines set up so as to ease any unnecessary anxiety in the classroom for the students dealing with EBD and all students. In relation to this lesson specifically, Micha will work in small groups with two other students. This group of three that is set up will be the same group that Micha has worked with all semester. Having the comfort of working with the same people is one classroom routine that will hopefully make Micha feel more at ease and willing to contribute without getting angry. In planning and performing this lesson specifically, I recognize that large group discussions may not work best for Micha. Because of this, I might structure the lesson so that the students group up in their small groups of three after they read the articles and discuss the main points of the article. Each group will be responsible for writing down three bullet points of ways they want to contribute to the discussion. This way, working in small groups will prepare Micha for the larger group discussion. He will be able to prepare what he wants to say, and practice socializing with his peers in a less intimidating, and more intimate atmosphere. Placing Micha is a small group with peers who work well with him creates a somewhat controlled environment where he can practice socializing and performing class discussions with peers with less chances for triggers that would cause any anxiety or stress. This way, Micha can focus on the content of the lesson rather than managing his emotions. The peers that are paired with
Micha will ideally act as scaffolds for him, showing him how to take turns talking, respectfully respond to one another, and take notes together which will help in their in-class assignment. The small groups will have a chance to talk for about 3-5 minutes. I will walk around the classroom during that time of small group work and pay close attention to how Micha is interacting with his classmates. I will then have the class get together as a large group and will ask each group to share their summaries and connections to the film. It is my hope that Micha can model and mirror his peers in how they respond to the group. If he is feeling up to talking to the class as a whole, then he has that option, but if he is not, then one of his group-mates can respond and talk for the class. This way, Micha has still contributed to the conversation without feeling the pressure to talk to the entire class. Students with EBD have a variety of triggers that may set them off, and these triggers are hard to measure for the teacher (Monda-Amaya 9/13/12). Because of this, it is important to give Micha a variety of opportunities and challenges throughout the class period, and as a teacher, I can better monitor how Micha is feeling by seeing what choices he makes throughout the class period. So in this example, I can see if he chooses to contribute to the small group discussion, to the large group, both, or neither. The class will have a choice to work on the worksheet in the same small groups or to work alone. This will be another choice that Micha will have. At the end of class, Micha will perform another routine. At the end of each class period, he turns in any worksheets that he will not need for homework. This helps him stay organized in the class, and also allows me some one-on-one time with Micha to gage how he is feeling. It is during these moments that I have a chance to ask Micha how everything is going at home, I can also reflect on his behavior in that day‟s class. I usually give him a quick positive reinforcement on what he did well and if he had a bad day I might just try to be reassuring and ask questions
that show my concern. It is also my time to do more observations of any physical traits that might be alarming and where I might need to notify a social worker. Case Two: Because Lizzy‟s biggest problems in the classroom stem from decoding and remembering her reading, most of the accommodations that I make will revolve around modifying the reading so that she can access the reading, decode the words easier, and have the means to remember and understand the material. If I can accomplish this, then Lizzy will hopefully feel more confident in the classroom and with her overall performance in school. One of the modifications that I will create for Lizzy will be to make the articles that I will have the students read have bigger text and use bigger spaces between the lines so that Lizzy can have an easier time decoding the words. Lizzy has trouble decoding readings, which means that she has trouble breaking down words individually and comprehending readings as a whole. By giving her a larger text with greater spaces in between the lines, it is my goal to not overwhelm Lizzy in her silent reading. Her eyes will not be as distracted by other words, there is less of a chance that the words will jumble together and confuse Lizzy‟s reading if they are placed further apart. It is the hope that if the reading is structured this way, then Lizzy will feel as though she can tackle the two articles. Because of Lizzy‟s severe reading disability, I understand that it may take her up to double the time to process the information than the other students in the class to read through the articles. To accommodate for this, I will have the students who are done reading through the articles early go up to the board and write a bullet point response under each of the questions I have written on the board (to summarize the article and to compare their article to the film). This will allow the students to prepare for the large class discussion and give other students time
to finish their reading who still need it. And if Lizzy and other students do not get around to writing a response on the board, they have not lost out on that specific part of the lesson because they will have a chance to participate in the verbal discussion that will follow the reading of the articles. To help Lizzy remember the reading and to help her find the important vocabulary and information in the articles, I would create a partially filled in notes from the reading that Lizzy can fill in while, or after, she completes the reading. The other students will be told to read the articles, discuss them as a class, and then fill out a worksheet that connects the main ideas. Lizzy will have some guidance in that process with the use of the notes. The notes will help Lizzy because it will guide her reading of the articles by using direct quotes and having her fill in main vocabulary words. The notes will also show her the main ideas of the article and will act as a “scaffold” for her so she knows how to actively and critically read for the most important part of the article. Having her notes written out physically will also help when she wants to go back to refer to the information during the class discussion of the article and the worksheet that relates back to the film and the articles. Hopefully these modifications will make Lizzy feel as though she can keep up with the reading in class and that she can contribute in class discussions. She will have access to the information from the articles, due to the larger text size and also because the partially filled in notes will help her remember the information, but will still be responsible for the reading and finding the main points herself. These accommodations should help Lizzy feel more confident in class discussions because she has access to the information and has a way to refer to the text and her notes. Case Three:
For Susan, the main accommodations that I would create would focus on giving her access to the content in the classroom and also giving her the tools to advocate for herself in the classroom and outside of school as well. I would ensure that the articles were in Braille and that any instructions I write on the board will also be supplemented with verbal instructions. During the class-wide discussion, while I am writing down the most important points, first, I will make sure that my writing is large and clear but I will also give verbal cues like “I am dividing the board into two columns and adding this point on the left side of the board under „article summary.‟” This way, Susan will know exactly how I am structuring the lesson and guiding the conversation. She will have her own computer in the classroom that will have a screen enlarger so that she can type her own notes on the computer. This is one type of assistive technology that Susan will use in class. When the students are working on the worksheet, I will make sure to scan the worksheet on the computer and make sure it is compatible to the magnifying program that Susan uses. In terms of accessing content and becoming an advocate for herself, I will work with Susan by guiding the lesson and prompting her to come up with answers on her own. For example, as the students work in groups to fill out the worksheet, which focuses on cause and effects, I will walk up to Susan‟s group and say, “As you are filling out this worksheet, think about how it could help you write a news article.” Using those kinds of verbal cues to make Susan think about how the lessons apply to her own life and her own goals not only make the work more meaningful, but it also reminds her how she can advocate for herself and begin to think about her own needs. At the end of class each week, Susan and I will have our own quick routine where we debrief on the lessons of that week and she shares with me how she felt about the lessons, and if the accommodations I provided for her helped her feel on track with the lesson
or not. During this time, I will also help her advocate for herself by guiding her and asking specific questions that relate to her self-advocacy in other areas of school. I will ask what kind of accommodations she is using in the school newspaper, and if she thinks any of those accommodations would work well in my classroom. This way, Susan is a part of the adaptation and modification process and she will learn how to advocate for herself. Keeping in mind that Susan‟s assistive technology is only a small component of the necessary modifications for a lesson is important because my approach to the lesson as the teacher is the major part that will determine if Susan feels included in the lesson or not. I need to supplement my written instructions and the work I write on the board with verbal instructions, and I need to make sure that I repeat myself multiple times, slowly, and in a variety of ways. This will not only help Susan, but also the other students in the class who are auditory learners. Keeping Susan in the loop on the types of modifications I am using and being clear on how I make that happen will help her become a self-advocate for her future college career. She will learn what accommodations work best for her under specific settings and in her experience of meeting with teachers, like me, on a regular basis, she may be inspired to do something similar with her teachers and professors in college.
Section Four Case One: For Micha I will assess his performance for the lesson by grading his worksheet that he will complete in class either by himself or with his peers. I will also use formative assessments to observe how he is interacting with his peers. Micha‟s social interactions and behaviors are connected to his motivation to complete academic work, so I need to make sure that I create an
atmosphere where he does not feel stressed and anxious by his peers. Observing how he is interacting with his peers on a given day will help me understand how and why his academic work is the way it is. If, when he turns in his worksheet, it is blank, then I know that something in the classroom environment triggered Micha in some way. I may begin the next day of class with a quick probe asking students to summarize the main points of the last day‟s lesson. That can be an additional assessment to see if Micha understood the material, especially if he does not choose to participate or fill out his worksheet the day before. The worksheet is not meant to be a large grade; it will mostly be graded for understanding and completion. So if Micha does not do the work, it will not be detrimental to his grade, however, I still need to find another way to make sure that he absorbed something from the lesson, which is what the probe would indicate for me the next day. Case Two: Lizzy will be assessed through her participation in the class discussion, her completion of the partially filled in notes, and the completion of the worksheet. If I see that Lizzy is contributing to the class discussion, then I will know that she is comfortable with the information and has regained some confidence, at least for that lesson. I will look at how she completed the notes, it does not matter if she fills it in by taking the information directly from the article, or from the larger class discussion, as long as she has a place to record the information and return to it later, that is what is most important. While the students read the articles silently, I will walk around and observe and assess how Lizzy is interacting with the outline along with the reading. If she does a good job of multi-tasking and reading while filling out the outline, then I‟ll keep that in mind for future modifications. If she chooses to fill out the notes after she reads, then I might need to reevaluate if the notes are really helping with her reading processing, or if it
mostly helps with her reading comprehension. It would be useful either way, but then I would have to work on another modification to help with her processing. The work on her worksheet will also be assessed for completion and understanding. If her worksheet and her notes are incomplete, then I will know that she had a hard time understanding the articles and the main concepts of the lesson. The following day, I will supply her with a bullet point list of the main points of the article and she will be asked to use that to fill in the rest of the notes. Case Three: Susan will be assessed by examining her completion and understanding of the worksheet, and her interaction in the group discussion. If she is able to complete the worksheet, then I will know that my verbal cues and the assistive technology helped her access the content. Even if she asks her peers for help in figuring out the placement of the notes on the board (in case my verbal cues are not clear) then that will show that she is advocating for herself. She will also be informally assessed after our weekly meeting as a way for me to see how she is learning to selfadvocate. During these meetings, I will look to see if Susan is asking me the “right” questions, which means questions that show a self-awareness of what went well during the previous week in the classroom, and where she was struggling. Having an awareness of why she was struggling shows a maturity in her thinking. Further, being able to communicate that to me shows that she is learning how advocate for herself.