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Chelsea Corntassel

SPED 510-01

Fall 2017

Diversity Project

Introduction

General School Information

I was placed at Carl Junction, Missouri in their Primary 2-3 school for this

project. It’s a relatively small town right on the edge of the Kansas and Missouri

state line. The town may seem small but the school district is large considering each

class size is well over 200 students. Inside the school, as well as outside, they have

different values like honesty, integrity, courage, respect and so on promoted as a

daily reminder. It’s clear to see it has an effect on the students as well as the staff. As

for my supervising teacher, Mrs. Farley, she is one of the best in my opinion. She

teaches the Adapted P.E. class for those students who require special services. She

is actually the reason they have an adapted class. She saw a need in the school

district and was able to start this program.

Building Report Card

Pitt State/Building report card.pdf

In the Primary 2-3 school of Carl Junction, the majority of students are white

and have a higher socioeconomic status. In fact, the sample size was too small for

the other ethnicities that I was not able to find a percentage on those that were

enrolled under anything but Caucasian. However, I was able to find data about the

reading assessment level for Hispanic, Multiracial and White students. In all three
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race categories, only a small percentage were below average. The same can be said

for the students with free/reduced lunch and those with disabilities. Under the math

assessment data, there is still only a small percentage of students that performed at

a below average level. This includes students with free/reduced lunch, students

with disabilities and males and females alone.

The majority of students fall within the proficient range of both assessments.

Since there is only a small number of students who fell below average in any sub

category, I believe it is safe to say that students with disadvantages or disabilities

were not highly effected by their situation. It could be said that their test scores

reflect on the teachers or even the school environment. I think that their

socioeconomic status, disabilities or other disadvantages don’t play a huge factor in

this building according to their data. I think that shows just how effective teachers

and the school environment can be.

Target Student(s) Profile

Student A: This student is a young, white male in the 4th grade. He is diagnosed with

autism. He doesn’t interact with his peers much and he doesn’t ever make eye

contact. He like to do things on his own if it’s possible.

Student B: This student is in the 4th grade as well but female and she is diagnosed

with Down syndrome. She is lower functioning but loves to talk. She is outgoing and

likes to complete tasks and show everyone that she did it.

Student C: This student is a young white male in the 7th grade. He has Down

syndrome. He is quiet and hardly socializes with his peers. He is observant though,
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he watches what others do and tries to imitate. Other times he is distant and in his

own world.

Student D: This student is a young white female in the 7th grade too. She is outgoing

and likes to socialize, especially with new people. She is higher functioning than the

other students in her class. She picks up on things quickly and seems to process

better.

Student E: This student is a young white male in the 4th grade and is diagnosed with

EMH (emotionally, mentally handicapped). He is actually quite intelligent, when he

wants to be. He can also be defiant. He likes to have power and control and when he

doesn’t it can be dangerous because of his outbursts. He doesn’t socialize much; he

likes to keep to himself. On his good days, he will talk more and shows off.

Time Log

9/21/17 11:00-11:45

9/28/17 11:00-11:45

10/19/17 12:30-1:30

11/9/17 10:45-12:45

11/16/17 9:45-11:30

11/30/17 12:30-2:30

12/07/17 12:30-2:30

Total 10 hrs. 15 mins


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Daily Entries

Entry 1: 9/21/17; 11:00-11:45

Today was my first visit with the Adapted P.E. class. There are only two

students in the class at the moment. Mrs. Farley informed me beforehand that there

are usually three but that student has been ill lately. When I walked into the class,

Mrs. Farley introduced me to her students. There is one boy (Student A) and one girl

(Student B); both of them have obvious disabilities. I was quite nervous going in

because I didn’t know that to expect or if they would have me working with them

immediately since it is a small P.E. class. Mrs. Farley has a couple of

paraprofessionals in the class that do aid with the students.

They were working on flexibility and running today. It was mainly teaching

them how to control their body movements. They each had spots on the floor and a

specific line to run to that meant to slow down before they stopped on the spot. I

noticed it took Student B a few seconds to process what she was doing. I’m assuming

she has Down syndrome just by recognizing some noticeable physical features. She

listens well and perform the movements to an extent but it does take a few seconds

to process. She is more high functioning than the boy and doesn’t need as much

reinforcement or instruction.

However, Student A has trouble focusing and tends to pick at his skin. It looks

like maybe a nervous reaction or a way to cope, possibly. One of the Para’s ended up

putting gloves on him, roughly I might add, so he could stop and pay attention.

While they were doing their activity, I noticed that the Para has to constantly stay on

him and remind him what they’re doing. He can focus in for a few seconds but then
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likes to wander off and do his own thing. It can be difficult to communicate with

Student A because it takes longer for him to process information and he hardly

speaks. When he does it’s hard to understand. Therefore, the Para is harsh with him.

She often handles him so he can do the activity correctly. It’s supposed to help but it

just looks rough to me.

This was a great learning experience to see what goes on during this type of

class. Everything is modified for the students so they can excel. I mainly observed

today but hope to work with them hands on soon. My only concern is with Student A

and how he is handled during the class. I think there are better ways to get him to do

an activity or exercise. It may require more time and attention but that may be what

it takes for him to learn and achieve.

Entry 2: 9/28/17; 11:00-11:45

When I walked in today, they had already started playing a game called

“What time is it Mr. Fox?” It’s a cognitive and psychomotor type of game where

there is a “tagger” standing at half court and the rest of the players are behind

him/her on the baseline. The players ask what time it is and whatever the “fox” says

are how many steps the players have to take. When he/she says midnight, the fox

turns around and chases the players to try and tag them. Whoever is tagged has to

help the “fox” and the games starts over. They asked me to join in and help. We

played for a while and I was observing Student B as she was taking her steps. She

could count them but couldn’t do it at the same time she was taking them so she got

off a few times. I also noticed that Student A was having trouble just following

directions in general. He would randomly take off running in various directions.


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They were having a hard time keeping control of him. It’s like he just got lost along

the way and couldn’t remember what to do so he did whatever he felt like. I didn’t

know what to think right there and how I would’ve been able to handle this.

After we finished this game up, Mrs. Farley had another motor skill game set

up with cones, beanbags and a nerf ball. The object was to throw the ball at the

cones to knock them over. If they had a beanbag underneath it, the students would

grab the beanbag and take it back over to their spot. Whoever had the most bean

bags, “won.” I tried to hone in on Student A during this because he was having the

most trouble. I did notice that he didn’t need his gloves, though, so something must

have been better today. It was hard to just stand by and watch because you could

see he was trying to make connections with what he was doing but his body just

wasn’t cooperating. I ended up going over to him and tried to help just by talking to

him and giving him more instruction. I also didn’t want the Para to be rough with

him again. There were moments it helped but then it was lost in translation again.

For instance, he would throw the ball and I would tell him to go pick it up and he

would and then the next time he would throw it and just stare at it. I was having to

coerce him to play. Eventually he got it and the game was over. Now, it was time to

count the beanbags. I went over to him as he was picking them up and helped him

count. He never said anything out loud but as I was counting he would move a

beanbag from one hand to the next. So I knew he could understand what was going

on. As he gathered all the beanbags up to go put them away, he reached out to me

with his hand. It might have been a reflex but I prefer to think this was him showing

that he was comfortable with me.


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At the end of class, they sat down to stretch and do various reflex and

strength exercises. Student A needed assistance performing these movements. His

body just wasn’t connecting with his brain well. When it comes to fine motor skills

he has little control. The Para wound up making him do the exercises because he

was having trouble doing them on his own.

As the students were leaving, Student A was saying bye to us and trying to

say our names. He actually got the words out “bye Miss Chelsea.” Words can’t

express how that made me feel. Ultimately it melted my heart. I wasn’t expecting to

be excited about coming to an adapted P.E. class but it’s starting to become a

favorite. I’m learning a lot more about myself than I realized by being around

students with disabilities. I’m not as nervous as I used to be and I already feel more

confident talking to them and joining in to help them out.

Entry 3: 10/19/17; 12:30-1:30

Today I went to the Junior High with Mrs. Farley for their Adapted P.E. class.

They had five students but I mainly worked with two of them. One male, Student C,

and one female, Student D. Since this was my first time being with them, Mrs. Farley

introduce me and all of the students were welcoming by saying hello and waiving.

We began with their warm ups which involved moving from one spot to

another spot on the field working on various motor skills. I joined in with them,

motivating and trying to help them along. Student C was having difficulties so I

partnered up with him for a while to help him get through the warm up. I kept

encouraging and showing him how to do the movements. There were moments

were he would do them perfectly and the other times he struggled or just did
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whatever he felt like. He didn’t talk hardly at all but he was able to understand what

I was saying because he would listen and watch what I did then mimic me. After

they warmed up, it was time for some indoor soccer. The teams were divided and

both students were on my team. I was trying to observe and play at the same time. I

noticed Student C looked lost during the game. I kept trying to convince him to play

and show him what to do but he seemed reluctant. A few times he would participate

but only for a brief second. Student D, however, picked up on it and was doing great.

When she did seem confused, I talked her through on what to do or where to go and

she picked up on it again.

All I did was encourage, praise and instruct when it was needed. The

students acted like they had fun. I know I did. I’ve become more aware that I’m not

as nervous anymore. I feel more excited to work with them than I used too. I may be

more comfortable but I do know I can still improve. When it comes to disciplining or

being strict on rules, it’s hard for me to do. That does have a lot do with it not being

my class and not knowing the teachers expectations for them. But I know I can still

work on it.

Entry 4: 11/9/17; 10:45-12:45

Today was different. I haven’t been able to meet with Mrs. Farley recently

because of class field trips, conferences, etc. So today I went to observe in an actual

classroom. It was their special education classroom as well as a resource room. I

was introduced to Mrs. Plumley and took a seat at an empty desk. There were

several students in there with a range of disabilities. I was introduced to each of


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them as they were working. Some were high incidence but quite a few were low

incidence students.

Today they were all working on the same project. They were drawing and

coloring a soldier since Veterans Day was the following day. I happened to sit across

from a student that was chatty and inquisitive. I kept having to get him to focus back

on the project they were doing because of that. He eventually got it done, it took him

a while since he liked to get off topic frequently.

I mainly just observed today, besides helping the student out for a while,

since I was new to the classroom. I noticed that most of the students stayed in that

classroom all day. They each had their own desk and cubbies for their things.

Besides Mrs. Plumley, there are a couple of Para’s in the class. They do group work

but I noticed a lot of one-on-one time with the students. It wasn’t just class work

either. One student was doing some physical therapy in there as well. He has a

service dog, too, to help him. I learned that it takes a lot of energy to keep the

students on task as well as repetition. The teacher had to repeat things constantly

whether it was directions or just proper classroom etiquette like raising their hand

or not interrupting someone. Everyday I learn something new and come home

exhausted but it’s a good kind of exhaustion.

Entry 5: 11/16/17; 9:45-11:30

I still haven’t been able to meet with Mrs. Farley lately because of scheduling

conflicts but I have been able to go to their resource room. Today I was introduced

to another teacher, Mrs. Nease. She has a few students in her class that stay there all

day but most of them are in and out to work on things they have trouble with. For
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most of the time I was there, I observed the students and spoke with the teacher.

She explained to me their home life situations and some of the troubles they have at

school. She also spoke with me about their referral process and diagnosis, which in

turn helped me understand their learning process.

There was a boy in the class, Student E, that I noticed was taking an extra

long time to do the assignment that was given. Since it was close to Thanksgiving

Break, Mrs. Nease had the students write a formal invitation to a classmate inviting

them to their Thanksgiving dinner they were having on Monday. Mrs. Nease also

explained they were working on etiquette at the table and place settings. It sounded

like she was trying to work on their social skills for the most part since none of them

experience that at home. Anyway, I decided to walk over there and try to help him

with this invitation. It was written on the board in front what he was supposed to

include in it but everything distracted him from doing so. So I talked with him and

asked him if he could tell me what the next line was to write down. He began to

write more and then he would stop so I asked again and then he would. That process

just repeated. It was obvious he could do it and I heard him sound out the words and

spell them. It was just a matter of trying to have him focus on it, not to mention

towards the end he was just being defiant. If he didn’t want to write, then he wasn’t

going to. I was trying hard not to push him too much because the teacher informed

me that he was kind of a loose cannon. I just tried to be as kind and encouraging as I

could without going overboard. Well he finally finished it and I’m not sure what

happened but it was like a flip was switched. He was suddenly showing me his
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dinosaur hat, talking with me more and started dancing. I think he was just showing

off but it could have just been a good day for him.

I later learned that Student E was diagnosed with EMH, emotionally mentally

handicap. Therefore, he supposedly had a lower IQ. But when I talked to him, yes he

was a little behind his classmates, but he was a bright kid. I saw him working on a

color sheet with math problems and he was doing just fine with the math and

coloring between the lines with the right colors. Even when he was writing that

invitation, he knew what the words were, how to pronounce them and copy them

down on the paper. I’m not with him everyday in the classroom, obviously, but there

is potential there.

Honestly, today was rough and emotional. Not with working with the

students because I enjoy that a lot. But when I was talking with Mrs. Nease she

explained to me some of these students’ home life situations, including Student E

that I worked with today. It is unimaginable. It is stuff no one should have to

experience in their lifetime. She also told me that some students don’t even want to

be in school so they know “key words” to get them out and hospitalized. It blew me

away. I may be more confident in working with these kids than I was but I was in no

way prepared for their background information. It opened up my eyes because I

would never have guessed by looking at them or even talking with them. It’s hard to

think about it without wanting to cry. I’m glad Mrs. Nease shared this information

with me though, because it gave me a new perspective on these students and what

challenges they are facing. Honestly, it gave me a new outlook on any student that I

come in contact with. In my future classes, I will be sure to look out for these
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students and keep an open mind if they disrupt class or act out because you never

know what circumstances they may be going through.

Entry 6: 11/30/17; 12:30-2:30

I was finally able to go back to the Adapted P.E. class today with Mrs. Farley. I

was able to observe two classes this time, middle school students and high school

students. Since there were several students in each class, I wasn’t able to work a lot

one-on-one with them but I did interact and observe most of them.

In the first class, which was middle school students, I have worked with them

once before. This is the class that has Student C and Student D in it. When they came

in, they did their usual warm up. They have place markers set up that they perform

certain motor skills to like high knees, skipping, galloping, etc. I always warm up

with them anyway but this time another student in the class, who has autism and is

also mute, pointed at me and then to the marker beside him. He wanted me to warm

up with them. As we were doing these skills, I watched and it’s interesting because

you can tell they know what to do and how to do it but it doesn’t always come out

that way. For instance, when they do high knees sometimes only one knee makes it

up through the drill. So when that happens, I usually try to be in front of them and

visually and verbally remind them to lift both knees. Sometimes it works and

sometimes it doesn’t because I think they’re more focused on me that what I’m

explaining.

Once we finished the warm up, it was time for the game of the day. They

played game that involved motor and strategy skills. There were 3 teams with 4 pins

around them and the point was to stay within their pins and knock over the other
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teams pins with the foam balls but defend their own. Student D was the only one

that could accurately play. The other students somewhat understood the game but

were not able to hit any of the pins and would wonder off. It took a lot of focus and

repetition of the rules to help the students. It’s hard to be frustrated with them

when they look so happy to just be out playing. Sometimes I think they’re not

getting anything out of it and maybe they aren’t right now but at least they’re

working on it. Eventually, I think they’ll get better at processing and motor skills.

With the other class, the high school students, this was the first time I’ve

been able to join them. There are also 5 students in this class. There is a range of

disabilities and some are more high functioning than others. One suffers from

shaken baby syndrome, another has Down syndrome and I never figured out the

other student’s disabilities. Even though they have these disabilities, they don’t let it

effect them. They like to come out and play and try their best. They are sociable and

have an incredible memory. Within the first 2 minutes of class they came up and

introduced themselves to me on their own will and had my name memorized.

Mrs. Farley worked with this class a little differently. She didn’t have them

warm up like her other class and during the game she had a few general ed. students

join in. They were more integrated than all the other classes I’ve observed. I think

this was great and effective because when I was in school, students with disabilities

were never integrated with general ed. students let alone have their own P.E. class.

Their warm up was a line tag game that I also participated in. I noticed that

they like to chase after the new person. I also noticed that a couple of the students

didn’t grasp the concept that they had to stay on a line during the game, so that just
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made it even more fun and interesting. After their “warm up,” Mrs. Farley invited the

general education students in to play the game, which is the same game that the

previous class played. It made the game go a lot better because there were more

people and the students with disabilities had a blast playing with their classmates.

The students in the class were a little more high functioning than the last class

because they were able to be more involved and could process the rules better.

Their motor skills were a little more refined as well. I also noticed that Mrs. Farley

and her aids don’t just stand by and watch, they play too. I like that they are

involved. I think it motivates the students more and initiates an actual relationship

with them; which, in turn, can help their progress. I think that’s what they need

more than anything is someone acknowledging them and treating them like anyone

else. That’s why I also think that involving a few of the general ed. students in this

class is a great idea.

Entry 7: 12/07/17; 12:30-2:30

I had my last observation today. It was with Mrs. Farley’s middle and high

school class again. I’ve enjoyed working with these students the few times I’ve been

there. It’s always interesting to see how they’re going to behave and what they

might say.

During the first class, which is the middle school students, they warmed-up

like they usually do. Student C and Student D are in this class and I noticed that

Student C was doing well today during the warm up. He was performing the motions

correctly, even though sometimes he would get distracted. I didn’t have to say much

to him and he would pick right back up where he left off. Student D doesn’t need
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much guidance. After the warm up, they divided up and stood across from each

other in a single file line. Each team had two, foam pool noodles and they had to

balance a balloon on them then walk to the other team and hand it off. They weren’t

allowed to touch the balloon with anything but the noodles. It worked on balancing

and some fine motor skills like squeezing their arms together to hold the balloon. It

seems like a simple task but it was difficult for several of them. They had to

concentrate on walking and all the aspects of holding the balloon so it didn’t fall.

After they had a few rounds of that, they played a game that was a little more

stimulating. This time each person had one foam noodle and they went to their

colored poly-spot on the floor, which formed a small circle. The object was to hit the

balloon with the noodle to keep it in the air. This was a fun game to participate in

because the students had so much fun hitting this balloon. It also worked on their

eye-hand coordination. I noticed Student C would not come off the poly-spot to hit

the balloon. Even though that was allowed. He would stretch and reach to hit it with

all his might and still have one foot on the spot. It looked like it was nailed to it. We

kept telling him he could take his foot off of it and move but he couldn’t grasp that.

It’s processing skills like this that you take for granted or don’t even realize it’s

happening when for students like him, it’s a major task. The other students didn’t

even notice the spots when they started playing.

In the second class, the high school students did the same thing including the

warm up this time. I think it’s interesting to see the difference between the two

classes. Some have the same diagnosis but that doesn’t mean they behave alike or

have the same capabilities. I have noticed that this class is a little more vocal than
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the other one. They like to talk and tell stories. They joke around more, some are

even sarcastic. It’s a comfortable, fun environment because the students and

teachers get along like this. At times, when I would talk to them it was hard to tell

that they had a disability.

During their game, I think they took more from it than the other class. I could

tell one student was even taking out some frustration on the balloon. That wasn’t

exactly what the teacher had in mind for the game but it worked for him. So I

learned it may not always go as planned but if it works for the students then that’s

what matters. I’ve observed a lot in this class from the students and teachers. One

thing I’ve noticed from the teachers is that they never get discouraged or frustrated.

They continue to encourage and talk the students through things. And, they are

always involved in the activity as well as the warm-up. I find it inspiring and I try to

do the same thing every time I work with them.

Final Reflection

Before I started this project and conducting observations, I was nervous and

wasn’t sure what to expect from it. I haven’t had a lot of interactions with people

with disabilities and when I have, I’ve never been sure how to interact with them.

It’s not something I grew up with the knowledge of. I also didn’t know much about

the different types of disabilities and what they entailed. Having that lack of

knowledge put me at a disadvantage all these years because I never gave them a

chance. Ignorance isn’t always bliss.

Since starting this project, it’s given me a new perspective on any student or

person with a disability. After my first few times in the class, I grew more
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comfortable and confident. I began to learn more about the students I was working

with, what disability they had and even their home situations. I’m not saying it made

it easier, but it definitely had an impact. I grew to love working with them and

looked forward to the next meeting. I learned that you never know what to expect

each time you meet with them, which made it interesting. Most of the students were

happy and loved being in the P.E. class. It was the students that I saw in the resource

room that didn’t always look that way. I’m not sure if it was the environment or they

just didn’t like sitting and working. I wasn’t in that type of classroom setting enough

to get a grasp on that.

When I do start teaching and have students with disabilities in my class, I

would like to observe them while they are in a resource room or another classroom

setting. I think it would be useful to see how other teachers interact with them and

how the students act. It could be a helpful tool for them to grow in my class as well. I

will also be involved in the class activities just like the supervising teachers were.

It’s a chance to get to know the students’ abilities better and form a relationship

with them. I also observed paraeducators in the P.E. class and I would like to have

them in my class too. However, what I noticed during this project isn’t how I would

want them to act in my class. I learned that there are better ways to get a point

across than having to manipulate them to do a movement. It looked like they were

being rough and I didn’t approve of that in my book. I believe encouragement and

repetition can work just as well even though it may take longer.

Overall, this project has been a great learning experience. I know I still have a

lot to learn and work on but it’s a starting point. I know I can work on reactions and
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what to say to students. I’m not always prepared for what they might say or do. I can

also learn more of what works best for them in my class like picture card

descriptions of the activity. I believe all students should have the chance in a

physical education class no matter what challenges they face. It just challenges me

more as a teacher to grow from that experience and trying to make something work

for them. I do believe I have made some growth through this project and look

forward to whatever may come my way.