Student Teaching Internship Reflection – Week #7

I was able to get a lot accomplished this week. After working on my TPA for two and half weeks I was able to submit it, and I’m looking forward to the response. Overall it was a positive experience, and it is still a new assessment so some glitches were to be expected.

I was also observed by my SPU coordinator at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, which went well, but it was unusual since it was a one-on-one reading lesson with a fairly high functioning student with autism who exhibits a lot of behavior challenges. He was actually very well behaved. My feedback was informative, and my coordinator mentioned shorter blocks of instruction, which should help. She also talked about working on his communication skills, and that is something we constantly work on with him every day and an ability he is improving on. Then I was observed by my school principal at 1:00 p.m., which was a lot of observation in one day, but I really wanted to get her input since I have started looking for a permanent teaching position. Being a principal at what I consider to be an exceptional school gives her insight for what other principals look for in a teacher.

My lessons went well with a few behavioral issues. Two points that stuck out to me were expanding our writing group to do some non-concrete fiction writing and seeing progress with a student in my math group. Our writing group usually sticks to very concrete and simple subjects such as tigers or elephants when writing about Asia. This week we studied and wrote about rice as a plant and food, and they surprised me with some of their creative brainstorming. In my math group we have a student who is probably the highest functioning at math, but he has such severe behavior and communication challenges that it becomes difficult to include him in even a small group activity. We work as a group, but for most of the year he has worked individually within the group. Now with some added strategies, such as giving worksheets individually instead of in packets and some extra individual attention he is staying with the group and participating. Now that he is at the same pacing my next task will to involve him more in the discussion and activities, which due to his behavior is a difficult, but achievable, goal.

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Posted in L1: Learner centered, L2: Classroom/school centered, P2: Enhanced by reflective, collaborative, professional growth-centered practice, S1 - Content driven, S2 - Aligned with curriculum standards and outcomes, S3: Integrated across content areas, T2: Intentionally planned, T3: Influenced by multiple instructional strategies | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Handwriting/writing Lesson Plan

This is a lesson plan for using the 5 W’s to brainstorm for writing.

Handwriting/Writing using the 5 W’s

and one of the student’s work from the lesson:

Posted in L1: Learner centered, L2: Classroom/school centered, S1 - Content driven, S2 - Aligned with curriculum standards and outcomes | Leave a comment

Student Teaching Internship Reflection – Week #6

This week was my spring break, so after taking some time to be with my family I started on the TPA task templates. This was not my favorite part of the TPA process, and after working on the lessons and lesson plans last week this was an extremely time consuming section. I realize that planning, preparation, and paperwork are an integral part of teaching but I felt my greatest learning experiences were when I was working with the students.

Now I am looking forward to concentrating on my lessons, and starting to work on an Individual Education Programs (IEP), which will be very informative and useful in the future. Another task I am going to be working on is a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP), which are two important items when addressing behaviors in a special education classroom.

Posted in L1: Learner centered, P1: Informed by professional responsibilities and policies, S1 - Content driven, T1: Informed by standards-based assessment, T2: Intentionally planned | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Student Teaching Internship Reflection – Week #5

This was my TPA week, and of course my first day was the perfect storm. It was a Monday and it seemed like every student had a rough weekend. The five students in my group had a tough time concentrating, and one student had several periods during my Handwriting lesson she would completely shut down. On the bright side they all did very well for the rest of the week. I figured they just needed to get it out of their system. Not to say that I didn’t have the typical challenges, which I noticed reviewing my video of day two, and saw one student who would stop working and stare into space as soon as I turned my head to help a different student. Finally toward the middle of the lesson I realized that he really like a stuffed monkey (Madrill) that I had been using as a tactile interest for the group, and when I used it as a reward to stay on task and finish his work he did a good job on his writing. I did find it revealing to watch myself on video and critique what I did well and what I could have done better. It also gave me more insight into what strategies could work better with most students.

Posted in L2: Classroom/school centered, P1: Informed by professional responsibilities and policies, P2: Enhanced by reflective, collaborative, professional growth-centered practice, T3: Influenced by multiple instructional strategies | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Student Teaching Internship Reflection – Week #4

This week was definitely a test to see how much I could handle. The week started well, and I felt like I was getting a handle on all the lesson plans and curriculum. Then I received the news that a close relative was being flown on an emergency ambulance plane from Eastern Washington to Seattle’s Children Hospital with a severe heart condition. It was a tenuous few days before he was stabilized and so far he is making an amazing recovery. It will be a lifelong issue and he will need more surgery in the future, but for now, God willing, he is doing well.

Now back to work. I attended a meeting with my coordinator and the other student teachers that she is observing, and I received some valuable insight going into my TPA week. My classes went well, and the students are proceeding along nicely.

The main thing I think about over the last week is the behavioral differences and outlooks in my classroom. One of our students who is profoundly disabled and non-verbal had a flu/cold, and I can only imagine how it much feel to be sick and not be able to communicate that in the typical way. So of course he does it in a very behavior oriented way with outbursts. Another student who has Autism and is what I call “semi-verbal” because he doesn’t really talk to people. He can read at a primer level, which is about five grades below his age level, but he can read. Most of his interactions with peers and teaches is usually echolalic, either from what you’ve just said or from a book/movie. He too has had a rough week communicating what he wants or needs, and I saw my first clear situation of how changing the schedule of a student such as him is a counterproductive idea. He has a mixture PECS (Picture Exchange System) and word schedule that he is able to help organize every morning, so that he picks certain activities or snacks for the day. He checks them off as we progress, and this give him a feeling of organization and power for his day. One day last week he was having a challenging morning and after getting him calmed down and situated a Para-educator wanted him to come to the computers for an Edmark reading program (the computer is a preferred item), so I thought he was ready but he spent the next 10 minutes screaming and acting out. It was then that my mentor teacher reminded me that it wasn’t on his schedule, and it dawned on me how obvious of a mistake I had made.

On the other hand a student who is on “the spectrum,” but is one of our higher students academically, greeted me after I had taken a day off to be at Children’s Hospital. He is very shy, withdrawn, and speaks in a very quiet voice, but after seeing me he seemed to sense my inner despair, jumped up, came right over and asked me it was okay to hug me! Of course I gave him a nice side teacher hug, but it really lifted my spirits, which reminds me of a paper that I wrote concerning children with autism and their supposed lack of empathy (Is there a need for moral intervention concerning children with autism?). My feeling is, a feeling which is backed by research, that there may be some disconnections, but they do feel empathy and most of the detachment comes from not being able to express their feelings. Children with autism are very alike to their typically developing peers in the notion that there are no two exactly alike, and pigeonholing them into a narrow view is detrimental to us as teachers and to them as students and as people.

Posted in L1: Learner centered, L2: Classroom/school centered, P1: Informed by professional responsibilities and policies, P2: Enhanced by reflective, collaborative, professional growth-centered practice, S3: Integrated across content areas, T2: Intentionally planned, T3: Influenced by multiple instructional strategies, T4: Informed by technology | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Reading Lesson Plan

Reading Lesson for a student with severe disabilities that requires one-on-one instruction.

Reading Lesson Plan

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Student Teaching Internship Reflection – Week #3

This last week was as busy as ever, and I ramping up with doing more lesson plans each week. My math group was very interesting this week because I am realizing the polarity within the group. I also realized how profound some of their learning disabilities are. One student for instance has several comorbid disabilities, but one of the more subtle challenges she faces is a short term memory issue. In some ways it is reminiscent of ADHD expect that she is paying attention, but she will forget what has been taught within minutes of the instruction. She has such a positive demeanor so it is disheartening and positive at the same time to work with her. I need to review constantly and provide a lot of positive reinforcement, which is helpful with the others in the group as well.

To accomplish some observation and participation in other classrooms I am co-teaching for a small group in the Learning Resource Center (LRC) once a day. This has been an insightful look into other students in the school since there are several general education students in the group. Several of these students are “at-risk,” so it has been interesting to see the early interventions within our school. It is for reading and handwriting, and most of the students perform well in this regimented curriculum, Systematic Instruction in Phoneme Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words (SIPPS). I have one student from my classroom in this group, and he is much more motivated to go to a new setting and work than he normally is in our classroom.

Overall the week went well as I try to implement my coordinators feedback into my instruction. I’m trying to focus on teaching moments and giving clear instruction before independent and group work. This allows the student to discover the subject before I show examples and then let them work on it themselves; tell me, show me, let me (TSL?). Oddly enough this is similar to how we organized instruction while I was a training instructor in the military, but we called it: explanation, demonstration, and practical application. I think TSL is much more appropriate phrasing for my students!

Posted in L1: Learner centered, L2: Classroom/school centered, P1: Informed by professional responsibilities and policies, P2: Enhanced by reflective, collaborative, professional growth-centered practice, S3: Integrated across content areas, T2: Intentionally planned, T3: Influenced by multiple instructional strategies | Tagged , , | Leave a comment