Chad Bobbit E-portfolio Integrated Reflection – Fall 2013 This fall, I taught in a functional life skills classroom for

middle school students. This was a new adventure for me, as I had yet to work with individuals with severe and multiple disabilities. The daily tasks and instruction were an eye-opening and enjoyable experience. I was also able to practice using several realistic and useful tools and processes that are consistently a part of a special educator’s duties. My knowledge of this setting has increased dramatically, and my experience will shape how I approach instruction with future students. This semester I had the opportunity to work with a diverse population of students, although it was a small class in size. My students each came from different backgrounds and faced different kinds of struggles at home. Some of my students experience involved and supportive families, while others come from homes in which the parents do not expect their children to do much on their own. Some of my students also come from less fortunate socioeconomic backgrounds than others. None of my students live with both their mother and father. Each of my students is raised by a single parent or relative. I have come to understand that my definition of the family unit may be different than that of my students. It is important that I learn about my students and their values in order to maintain positive relationships with my students and their families. I did so this semester by communicating with my students’ families in order to instruct group activities in which the students discussed their weekends or an event that happened at home. This was made possible by the use of alternate and augmentative communication devices and techniques. I practiced creating these opportunities by writing an instructional program on how to use a communication device I developed for one of my students. This also helped my understanding of different methods for promoting social

communication activities for students with severe and multiple disabilities. Different AAC can be used to support the physical and cognitive abilities of my students in order to successfully participate in these activities. This semester I was also able to write my first IEP and a Transition Plan. These experiences opened my mind not only to the process of identifying important goals for individual students, but to the obligations of the school and the special education teacher to legally implement the IEP and transition services. In order to develop the IEP, I had to use assessment, observations, interviews, and research possible educational placements in order to develop an individualized plan fit for the particular student I was creating it for. These processes take time and consideration in order to place the student in the least restrictive environment, while meeting the student’s needs as well. The transition plan allowed me to look past a student’s school years, and develop a plan of action in order to create meaningful learning opportunities for the student to be successful in adulthood based on their own goals and aspirations. In addition, I had to work closely with my cooperating teacher, paraprofessionals, and related service professionals in order to develop appropriate goals for my students. While developing my IEP, I discussed the needs of my students with several colleagues who also work with my student. My cooperating teacher provided me with insight about my student’s current levels of performance. The speech therapist provided me with her expectations for the student’s annual improvement, and paraprofessionals provided me with insight into the student’s daily routine, emotions, motivation for learning, strengths, and weaknesses. These communicative efforts allowed me to write a well-rounded and realistic IEP that helped develop goals for the student’s actual IEP that was being written near the same time.

This fall I had the opportunity to work daily with one student on mathematics. I developed lesson plans related to learning standards such as using manipulatives to learn number order and object representation of a value. During instruction, I consistently used verbal prompts and modeling in order to help my student understand these concepts. Many of these activities were directly related to her interests including food and shopping. In order to meet the needs of the student, I adapted instruction so that my student could visually and physically experience number representation using money and manipulatives. The student has learned to make small purchases and choose between desired and undesired items. I have learned a great deal regarding physical care as well. Three of my four students use a wheelchair and need help using the bathroom. These three also need help eating and changing. I have learned appropriate techniques for lifting and transferring, as well as proper prompting techniques for teaching partial participation during meals.