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Name: Team Love Dragon

Unit: Teaching Strategically

Case: Darren - Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

General Education Setting

Our case was focused on Darren, a student with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Our presentation was
centred around using Darren's strengths to develop his weaknesses. Our teaching demonstration in the
presentation was developed around the art and drama curriculum and was based on a whole class instruction.

Techniques Demonstrated
The techniques demonstrated in today's presentation were:

• Hand and finger exercises

• A reading comprehension exercise where questions were handed out and reviewed while listening to
the text
• A reader's theatre
• A sculpting exercise where students worked with playdoh to design a character from the book

Rationale for Technique Selection

The rationale for doing hand and finger exercises it that it will help prevent Darren’s hand from
cramping up so quickly. It also helps to increase his fine motor skills, which other students in the class will
benefit from as well. These simple and quick exercises will not only get the blood flowing through his hand
but will also make him aware of the feeling of moving all his fingers on his hand. It is suggested that children
such as Darren who have trouble with their hands cramping up so often do an exercise or two after every
sentence they write. These exercises can help Darren feel more comfortable while trying to complete his
work and may help to prevent him from becoming frustrated so quickly.
The rationale for DRTA (Directed Reading-Thinking activity is to improve Darren's reading
comprehension. His family and educators have mentioned that he has trouble following what is going on in a
story or picking up a story from different points (such as if he is interupted in the middle of a story or show
he will not know what is going on and have to start at the beginning again). With a DRTA, Darren can focus
on what he is listening for in the story and can come back to his notes later if he needs reminders on what has
happened. The particular lesson that we are demonstrating for our presentation has an art element as well
because art is a strong area for Darren that he has shown a great interest in. The rationale for using
playdoh for sculpting is that it incorporates the use of fine motor skills. Through using Darren's interest in art
and drama, he can create a character from the reader's comprehension exercise and reader's theatre by using
his imagination. Darren's hands also get tired and cramp easily so by using a moldable material that is easy to
handle, his tremors could quite possibly not have any effect on how he creates his sculpted masterpiece. I
believe that this is also a great alternative method to written reading comprehension. Considering that Darren
has a difficult time in thinking about what he wants to say and writing it down, scuplting is a creative way to
show understanding, listening, and reflection.

Steps/Procedures of Techniques Demonstrated

I will demonstrate the hand and finger techniques to the class and ask them to repeat the exercises after me.
These techniques were given to me by the FAS Information Line. I will begin by asking the students to make
their hands into a fist, then spread their fingers apart and repeat. Next, I will have them pretend their fingers
are a spider and ask them to move their fingers across the table as if they were crawling. From there, I will
ask the class to pretend to play the piano and move their fingers from side to side ensuring they are touching
all the keys. Lastly, I will ask the class to clap into their partner’s hand beside them but in this case one of
the partners must have their hand on the table and the other person claps into their hand on the table. I will
remind students that at any time if their hand feels sore or uncomfortable they can stop their work and do
these hand exercises. I will also remind students to sit up straight with their back supported against the back
of the chair and their arms on the tabletop
I would do this activity with the entire class as it would be benifical to all of them. I will read the students
select portions of the book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Before I begin reading the story,
I will ask the students some questions about the book to find out what they already know about the story.
Then I will ask them to make predictions about what they think may happen in the story. I will then hand out
the sheet to them with the areas they will be looking for in the story and go over it with them. It will be
explained to them that they will draw out the beginning, middle and end of the story. They will then be given
the option of writing an explanation of their pictures or explaining them orally.
To help students with FAS to become engaged in the playdoh sculpting activity, I would model what types
of techniques you can use to play with the playdoy (roll it so it is long and skinny, roll it into a ball, make
many different shapes with it, make it flat, etc.). I would also talk to the students and ask them thought-
provoking questions so they can think about their creations as they are designing them. Examples of
questions are: "Think of how your character would look like?" or "What could you do so students would
understand what you are trying to create?" In this way, students with FAS understand how to use the playdoh
while using their imagination to create a character.

Relevant Considerations for Techniques

This technique is easy to use with any student who is having difficulity with their hands cramping. There is
no special planning required and we can visually see the effectiveness if a child is able to write more or
produces more work with less pain and cramping.
By offering a drawing portion in this activity, Darren's strong point will be highlighted (art) and he is not
forced to do tons of writing when he is still developing in that area (although he is still given the option with
the rest of the students). Darren will still be able to demonstrate his comprehension of the story through his
pictures and oral explanations. All the students in the class will be given the same options for the assignment
as Darren and the teacher can use their choices of how they complete the activity to determine their strengths
in reading comprehension and writing as well.
To evaluate the effectiveness of the playdoh scuplting technique, I would check to see if the student
created a character from the book that was read. This would show that reading comprehension has taken
place and that they can apply this knowledge to creating a sculpture. I believe this is a great technique to use
after completing a reading comprehension activity because it allows students with FAS to use their
imagination and get into character.

Rationale for Reader's Theatre:

One of Darren's many strengths is a love for drama and art. But, one of the areas in which Darren is
lacking is in his comprehension of what he is reading. Readers Theatre is a great activity to use one of
Darren's strenghts to help strenghten his weaknesses. It provides him and other students an opportunity to
perform various roles in a story using their voices and small actions which will enable Darren to gain a fuller
comprehension of the reading. Using Darren's strong imagination and love for drama, we can bring to him
excitement for reading as well as bring him a better comprehension of the story.

Annotated Reference and Source List

FAS Information Manitoba. 1-800- 877-0050.

• Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Information Manitoba is a toll-free phone line for parents, teachers,
caregivers and other professionals needing advice about FASD. Services are confidential and non-
judgmental from FASD professionals.

Government of Manitoba. Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth: Towards Inclusion: Tapping Hidden
Strengths: Planning for Students who are Alcohol- Affected. (2001). Retrieved on September 1, 2009 from

• A website that is designed for teachers who have students in the classroom with FAS. The website
reviews strategies for meeting students learning needs through differentiated instruction, adaptations,
supports, modifications and individualization. The information is relevant to Manitoba schools and is
a great easily accessible resource for any teacher.

British Columbia, Ministry of Education. (1998). British Columbia: The best place on Earth. Retrieved from

• A website full of information to help when planning to teach a student with FAS. There are many
strategies and tips on this website provided that would be very useful for teachers who have little
experience with students with FAS. Some examples are developing math, science and motor skills.

Graefe., S. (2003). Living with FASD: a guide for parents. Vancouver, BC: Ben Simon Press.

• An essential guide for anyone who parents or cares for an individual with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
that includes special consideration for infants, adolescents, and adults. It is an excellent resource for
parents, teachers, and educational assistants to find current information on this pervasive condition.

Manitoba Education, Training and Youth. (1999). What educators need to know about fetal alcohol
syndrome. Winnipeg, MB: Author.

• A resource guide that helps classroom teachers understand the needs of a student with FAS. Many of
the strategies described in this guide are general and can not only be applied to develop skills within
students with FAS, but also with students who share some of the learning needs of students with FAS.

Manitoba Education and Training. (2007). Success for all learners: A handbook on differentiating
instruction. Winnipeg, Manitoba: Author.

• A guide for educators on differentiating instruction and shaping instructional methods to suit all
learners in the classroom. It takes into consideration the needs of all classroom learners, not just the
mainstream learners.

Morrissette, P. J. (2001). Fetal alcohol syndrome: Parental experiences and the role of family counselors. The
qualitative report, 6(2). Retrieved from

• A paper which discusses the experieces of foster parents who raise children with FAS and the
importance of their dealings with counsellorsin regards to management issues, relationships, and

Kleinfeld, J., & Wescott, S. (eds) (1994). Fantastic Antone succeeds! Experiences educating
children with fetal alcohol syndrome; Anchorage, AK: University of Alaska Press, 2nd Ed.

• Accounts from parents and teachers that provide the "wisdom of practice," that is, lessons and
inventions based in experience that can help other parents and educators devise educational strategies
adapted to the unique needs of individual alcohol-affected children.

Sendak, Maurice. (1963). Where the Wild Things Are. United States: Harper and Row.

• This is a children's book about a boy with a vivid imagination who goes on an adventure and meets
the "wild things".