Assessments

Noah Pierpont

 

Assessment is a very critical part of the learning process, and it is something that needs to be accurate and consistent. Assessments are important for all students, and we learned in class last year how to create meaningful assessments and performance tasks. We did not however talk, as much about the types of assessments that were brought up in the reading this week, and I had not considered many of the types of tools for assessment that I read about. The first one that I read about and really liked was the daily scorecard. I thought that this could be a great tool to help keep me organized and tuned in to how the students are doing that day. It will also help me to keep a good record of how that student is doing since I will write in the scorecard each day. It is a good way to collect useful information.

Another tool for assessment that I thought was interesting was the objectives grid. This would be helpful for monitoring the progress of students IEP objectives. This grid is clear and labeled and is a good reminder of what the goal that the student should be working towards is. The more clear and organized that I can be, the more effective my work will be. I liked the anecdotal seating chart as well. I thought that this could be a very useful tool for when substitutes come in, because it gives them a quick insight into how each student acts. I think that this could be a little biased though, and that what the teacher writes down for a students behavior next to their seat should be worded very carefully. You never know who might end up reading the paper or taking offense to something on it. Teachers should not be writing anything mean about the students in the first place either.

I looked at the tiered instruction by subject link for this week and I did find some useful information on there, however, I found it kind of difficult to find different ways of assessing students on the website link. I might be looking at the information wrong, or completely be missing something, but I’m sure that we will go over it in class and it will help to clear things up. Assessment is such an important tool for education, and it is something that should always be well thought out in the planning process. A good assessment can tell you so much about a student, but a bad assessment will waste everyone’s time and frustrate both the student and the teacher. A good assessment should be engaging, and have the student show what they know.

Assistive Technology

Technology is an ever-increasing field, and it has opened the doors for some truly incredible opportunities for students with disabilities. Technology has given the ability to talk for children who are non-verbal, or allowed a child who is blind to be able to type brail. Technology is only useful when it is used correctly. It is important that the child and the teachers and aids all know how to work the piece of assistive technology so they can help the student to get the full potential out of the tool and to make sure that it is being used correctly. The use of assistive technology for a student would be something that is written in their IEP, meaning that it is illegal to not provide the student with the tools that they need. There are many different types of assistive technology, each one suited to help a student struggling with a different issue. It is important that the school monitors the progress of the students work with the technology, to make sure that it is working effectively. I pads have a very large amount of applications that can be downloaded to help students from touch chat to help non verbal children to electronic readers for students who can not read. Technology will continue to improve and it will continue to make life easier for some children with disabilities.

Gifted and talented students

Gifted and talented students are a completely different perspective of what we have been looking at so far. Instead of the child needing supports because they are struggling in school, these children need supports because they are excelling in school. Often times these students to not get all of the supports that they need to help them, because teachers assume that they either don’t need help, or the teachers focus is given more to struggling students. The fact of the matter is that gifted and talented students need extra help, and they will not be fine just on their own. The teacher should find engaging ways to help the student further their learning and challenge themselves.

One strategy that would be useful if I had a gifted or talented student in my class would be to teach big concepts first and then the details second. As I do this I need to make sure skills are integrated into meaningful content rather than taught as separate lessons. In my practicum there was a gifted student in my class, and for one of my lessons, I modified it to be more challenging for her. She had a blast doing the couple of extra measuring tasks I had her do, and she got much more out of the lesson then if she had done just the worksheet that I gave to the class, which she finished in just a few minutes. The most important take away that I had from the reading was to not forget about gifted and talented students. They need to be challenged, but in a fun and interesting way. It I important not to assume that the student will just challenge himself or herself, and to find meaningful engaging was to help the student learn to their full potential.

Autism

Autism spectrum disorder is a broad spectrum, and the children who are classified under it may have greatly varying degrees of severity of autism. Like all disabilities, it is important to remember that each child who is being helped is a completely unique individual, and a service that might be helpful one child who falls in the ASD spectrum may not be helpful to another. With that being said, there are several different strategies that a teacher could use to help a child on the spectrum. Social skills are very important for a student to develop, and one way to do so is through challenging, yet child friendly play experiences. Some students with autism may need practice and help with plying with toys or other people; it may not be a skill that comes naturally to them. One type of program that may be helpful for a child with autism is Discrete Trial Training, which includes teaching little specific tasks until mastery, which can build upon each other as the student masters more and more skills. This could be a skill such as brushing teeth, which can be broken down into little steps to be mastered by the child until they can one-day brush their teeth on their own.

Another tool that teachers can use to help children with autism is by finding a way to help with communication, if that is something that they have trouble with. Many children with autism do have trouble communicating, and they may benefit from a tool to help them such as a talk box or picture cards. Many I pads can be downloaded with “Touch Chat” or another app that is similar, to help kids communicate their emotions and thoughts more clearly. Children with autism may benefit from short simple instructions and written reminders, as well as graphic organizers. Children on the spectrum are all very different and it important to find an intervention or accommodation that is specifically suited to a given child. As a classroom teacher I will undoubtedly work with children with autism, and it is something that I should be prepared to do.

Communication Disorders

There are two main categories that fall under communication disorders. These are speech and language disabilities. Speech impairments involve a persons voice and projected sounds. These include a person’s ability to articulate their speech, fluency, speech sounds and voice. A language disability focuses more on receiving and making sense of information, and creating a response to the information either orally or verbally. Either one of these impairments could greatly affect a students social and academic life.

The earlier that a communication disorder can be identified, the better, it is important to start working with children with communication disorders at an early age so they have strategies and tools to help them through school. Sometimes graphic organizers can be useful for students with communication disorders. It is interesting because graphic organizers are a possible tool for helping with almost all of the disabilities we talked about in class so far. The teacher should help support the student and make sure the student’s schedule is structured and written out for them. Students may benefit from work with a speech therapist, and may be taken out of class for that. Students with communication disorders should feel safe and comfortable in the classroom, as should all students, but it is up to the teacher to create that environment. Students with communication disorders typically spend most of their time in the general education classroom, which is why it is so important that they feel comfortable in that setting. I am interested to talk about this more in class because the difference between speech and language disorders is still a little confusing to me.

ADD/ADHD

Noah Pierpont

As a classroom teacher in this day and age, ADHD is undoubtedly something that teachers will encounter in their room. There are several different things that a classroom teacher can do to help a student with ADHD. In the example of Will from the reading, the first thing that the school could have done was give him an evaluation. It is kind of disturbing that the parents had to pay out of pocket for him to be evaluated, almost two months before the school began their testing. If a child is properly evaluated and diagnosed with ADHD, there are many things for a teacher to remember. The first being that each student is different, so even though the teacher might already have a student in the class receiving modifications or accommodations for ADHD, it does not mean that those accommodations will help a child with the same disability. Students however may receive similar accommodations and modifications, but in theory, no two 504’s or IEP’s should be identical.

Teachers can adjust the students seating. The student with ADHD may benefit from sitting away from the windows or doors so it is easier for them to focus. Them may also need to sit on a ball or cushion, and take their tests in a quiet place. Teachers can also give instructions in short steps, write them down, and repeat them as often as necessary. Teachers can work with students to use charts, organizers, and color-coding to help the student stay focused and organized. Teachers can give more frequent shorter assessments and assignments instead of long projects that have the potential to be overwhelming for the student to take on all at once. Teachers should work with the students on keeping an organized binder, back pack, and notes, and give them time to organize at the end of each class. The teacher can allow the student to take breaks, have a fidget toy, or use a standing desk. These are just some of the things that teachers can do to help students struggling with AAD/ADHD. The more communication between the student and teacher the better as well, clear communication makes the class easier for both the teacher, and the student.

Learning Disablities

I really enjoyed the readings and the learning disability simulation. I think that it is so important for teachers to do simulations such as the one linked, and to watch videos like, “FAT city” to try and put themselves in the perspective of the child with disability. The more that a teacher can relate to and understand about a disability, the more that they will be able to help the student who has a disability. This website had so many different simulations on so many grade levels, it could be a very useful tool for any teacher. Despite having a little fun while doing the games in the simulation, I did not loose sight of how difficult the games were and how stressful and overwhelming a day of school can feel for a child with learning disabilities. I got frustrated after about 1 minute of looking at the scrambled words and letters in the simulation, I could not imagine having to go through that all day every day.

I was surprised in the reading to learn about dyscalculia. I had heard of dyslexia and dysgraphia before but never dyscalculia. It makes sense that that is a learning disability, I had just never even thought about that before. To help a child a learning disability be more successful, and feel more comfortable in school, there are a few different things the teacher can do to help. First the teacher can break larger tasks in to smaller, more manageable units. The student can work more effectively if they are only focused on a little section, rather than a whole project at once. Another thing that can be very helpful is the use of graphic organizers. Charts, tables and graphic organizers can be used to make sense of information in any subject, and they will help the student to stay organized.

For the bonus I think that they are violating IDEA because the school is not providing the necessary services.