Melissa Axell Teaching Exceptional Children Educ 490-005 Throughout this year, I have spent my time with

24 beautiful children, and about half of them are receiving special education services, or should be. I have had the opportunity to spend my time with each one of them individually, therefore it is difficult for me to take out one piece of evidence that shows how I have worked with them, and how we have mutually learned from one another. A large part of my unit was spent teaching the class how to write a haiku. This was very difficult for particular students due to the strict format of the haiku. One student in particular, Johnny, who has an IEP, and though not diagnosed yet, has autistic characteristics. Learning about him, and his needs had opened up my eyes to how students with learning disabilities have a harder time doing things that other students never struggle with. First of all, he hated changing the routine, if it were to ever be slightly out of place, or if he had to stop what he was doing to do something else out of the routine, he would not cooperate. This is where I struggled with teaching the haiku to him. During the writer’s workshop time, he was so used to my CT just having the students free write in their journals for about 20 minutes and work on any writing idea or topic they chose to. When the change of plans occurred when I taught my unit, he did not understand why he had to learn the haiku during the writer’s workshop time, and why he had to work on that poem and not free-write. He refused to do it for the first few days, and then after I spoke with him, and eased him into it, he eventually came around. I told him that he had to learn this poem because it was a part of his learning poetry and writing, and that as a teacher, I chose to teach this to the class. I also reminded him that once he had finished one with my help, he could then

resume his free writing time, and write about whatever he chose to. This helped a great deal, and the end result was successful. He wrote a very nice haiku, and seemed to enjoy it after a while. I ended up peeking in his draft book and saw that he had even wrote some of his own haiku’s aside from the animal haiku I assigned. If I were to go back and teach this assignment again, I would definitely warn the class ahead of time that the following week we would be learning about a poem called the haiku. I would tell them that the writer’s workshop time would be spent writing haiku’s and if there is some extra time, I would allow for free-writing. By doing this, I can give a fair warning to students that have trouble adjusting to changes in the schedule or daily routine. If I had done this the first time around, I would imagine that Johnny wouldn’t have struggled so much with the routine change, and understanding why he must write a haiku. In addition, he would probably have been less anxious and worrisome about having time to free-write.