Meta-Reflection: Standard S: SUBJECT MATTER AND CURRICULUM GOALS (S1-S3)
S1: Content driven – Students develop use of reading, written and oral communication, and technology.
Of the different aspects of the STLP standards the “S” standard leaps out to me as one of the most relevant to the topic of teaching children with disabilities. This standard emphasizes the importance of communication, whether it is verbally, by reading and writing, or through technology. When teaching most of the students in our 4th-6th grade Integrated Learning Center (ILC) communication is one of the bigger challenges they face. In contrast, while technology can contribute to the success of a student with disabilities, it can also be an enjoyable respite for the student from what they might feel is a daily overload of sensory and social stimulus. In fact the temptation to become over reliant on technology and computers for instructing many students is something that needs to be tempered with direct instruction and interaction. The problem usually occurs when there are not enough instructors to cover academic subjects and behavior issues, so some teachers may sit students in front of a computer with little or no supervision, which is nothing more than a visual stimulation that contains modest educational benefits.
During my student teaching I’ve been able to teach several areas on a daily basis, such as one-on-one reading instruction with a student who has severe academic and communication disabilities, small group instruction for handwriting/writing, and as assistant in the resource room for reading and writing. This diversity of students has let me experience a variety of different curricula and strategies for teaching communication.
Oral Communication (audio files) #1 & #2: There are several students in my classroom that disabilities revolve around their receptive and expressive speech and language delay. These disabilities aren’t as obvious as some of the more noticeable disabilities, so the main task we focus on is helping them to learn from our subject content and then express the learning orally and in writing. Our goal is for them to receive knowledge, discuss it with peers and instructors, and then express it in writing.
Visual Cues: This artifact is a paper about Visual Cueing. With typically developing students the goals for communication may differ from my students, but in my classroom the more profound the child’s communication skills the more important visual cueing is.
Tiger lesson plan: This lesson is a handwriting lesson that involves reading non-fiction books, and sharing aloud in small groups. The drawing after writing really works to motivate my students who are very enthusiastic about it, and the drawings reinforce and illustrate what they have learned.
Computer social interaction?: This is a response to an article pertaining to technology in the classroom, and that I feel computers may be relied on too much in some instances.
Spelling, reading, writing, and Starfall: This lesson plan shows a well rounded approach to using computer enhanced lessons, and shows how direct instruction and handwriting can be combined with computer software for a more comprehensive lesson.
S2: Aligned with curriculum standards and outcomes – Students know the learning targets and their progress toward meeting them.
This standard should also relate to any student but especially to those with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). In every student’s IEP there are goals (targets), methods of assessment and monitoring (progress), and a prospective timeline for when these targets should be reached or reevaluated. Most IEP goals can also be addressed to state standards such as EALR’s or GLE’s. In my lessons I make a concerted effort to repeatedly state the objectives for the lesson, and then I continue to reinforce and assess vocabulary and comprehension during the lesson to insure progress. Some of the targets for students in special education deal with generalizable skills, so some of the areas of focus are on “real world” skills, such as counting money and reading basic instructions found in everyday life. While some students with profound disabilities may focus on fine motor skills, such as holding a pencil or zipping their coat. Whatever the student’s level it is our duty to find their potential, and then show progress toward it.
Goal/Objective samples with correlation to EALR’s:
*Student* was evaluated using the Brigance Diagnostic Inventory of Basic Skills-Revised.
*Student* identifies/reads her first/last name in print. She is able to match words to pictures. She identifies/recognizes letter name and has letter sound-symbol relationships. In the area of word recognition *Student* placed at GL-1.For oral reading she placed at upper first grade. For basic reading comprehension she was also at GL-1.
Communication: (via SLP) She arrives each week ready to learn, and works very hard. We have been focusing heavily on understanding the main idea as well as identifying the main idea. This is a difficult goal; however *Student* is making slow steady progress. *Student* listens to details in a story read to her and is able to answer specific questions about the story with increased accuracy. When *Student* gives an answer, she is asked to provide a complete sentence. Grammar and syntax are also focused on during oral sentence construction. 11/18/2011
Relevant IEP goals and objectives:
Subject GLE: Writing – [Grade 1 EALR 3] 3.1: Develop ideas and organize writing.
PLOP: Writing: *Student* has made some nice gains with her writing skills. She is able to develop an idea and add detail. She is able to match her drawing to explain the sentence she has written. She is beginning to read her own sentence and make a revision based on a question I have asked her. She is more consistent with the use of capitals and punctuation. 11/18/2011
Annual Goal: *Student* will analyze ideas, select topic, adds detail, and elaborates [3.1.1] from 1 out of 4 trials to 3 out of 4 trials as measured by the following evaluation methods: Observation, Work Samples by 6/14/2012.
Objective: Given a small group setting, materials at her skill level, and minimal assistance, *Student* will develop ideas for topics orally and visually (e.g., discusses, draws, and/or write to develop ideas) from 1 out of 4 trials to 3 out of 4 trials as measured by the following evaluation methods: Observation, Work Samples by 6/14/2012.
Subject GLE: Writing – [Grade 1 EALR 3] 3.3: Demonstrate an understanding and apply appropriate grade level writing conventions.
PLOP: *Student* has made progress but she doesn’t generalize the skills she has learned. She often requires verbal cues. *Student* continues to work at the high first grade level when it comes to spelling. She continues to have trouble with some frequency words (was). She does pretty well with short vowel patterns (hat). She has improved with her blends (st) but continues to have trouble with the digraphs (th). She is inconsistent with the long vowel with silent e. *Student* continues to need reminders to check the word wall. 11/18/2011
Annual Goal: *Student* will spell phonetically using some conventional spelling [3.3.2] from 1 out of 4 trials to 3 out of 4 trials as measured by the following evaluation methods: Observation, Work Samples by 6/14/2012.
Objective: Given a small group setting, materials at her skill level, and minimal assistance, *Student* will write using grade level appropriate spelling patterns such as long vowel silent e (e.g., make, like) from 1 out of 4 trials to 3 out of 4 trials as measured by the following evaluation methods: Observation, Work Samples by 6/14/2012.
Objective: Given a small group setting, materials at her skill level, and minimal assistance, *Student* will use classroom resources (e.g., word walls, word banks, word charts, peers) from 1 out of 4 trials to 3 out of 4 trials as measured by the following evaluation methods: Observation, Work Samples by 6/14/2012.
IEP example #2: This example shows the standards and goals coordinated with them.
Assessment: This paper reviews several assessments used to track students’ progress and meet their IEP goals.
Reading assessments and generalizable skills: This research paper focuses on the Brigance Diagnostic Assessment of Basic Skills, which is used in my classroom for assessing and tracking progress. The paper covers the strengths and weaknesses of the assessment, and how we use it to develop goals for the students.
S3: Integrated across content areas – Students learn subject matter integrating mathematical, scientific, and aesthetic reasoning.
When addressing this standard I think of my math professor, Dr. Young, and her influence of incorporating reading with mathematics while including as much hands on learning as possible, which helps students relate with concrete thinking, and this pertains to our special education classroom because it also involves practicing fine motor skills. In my classroom we constantly seek to cross reference learning to gain the interest of students and to promote retention of the knowledge. Students learn better when they are interested in the subject, when addressing the subject from a multidisciplinary view, and when they can apply skills “hands-on.” These skills not only aid in learning, but will also help with the students’ transition into independent adults. This includes using math and reading for cooking and writing used in everyday communication.
Owl lesson: This is a handwriting (writing) lesson that involves reading (reading) non-fiction books about animals (science), and includes cutting and pasting (fine motor skills). The drawing portion following the writing really encourages my students who are eager to draw, and it reinforces what they have learned that day.
Teaching fractions using manipulatives: We use different manipulatives to access strategies that will work on a wide variety of students. This concrete approach works well with our literal thinkers. I also use student interest in other subjects such as reading and technology to increase interest in the lesson.
Authentic Application: This is a response to Jerome Bruner’s book “The Process of Education” (1960). I found generalizable skills, which are best taught by using multi-tiered approach, even more important to children with disabilities as they transition to adulthood.