Saturday, January 30, 2010

Action Research

For my action research project I am focusing on improving the spelling skills a 5th grade special education student. It has been a lot of fun designing this intervention and the student has responded incredibly well to the intervention. I called the Project " Two Times". What happens is the students get repeat spelling instruction twice a day for 10 to 15 min. the second session of the day is always a repeat activity from the day before so it reduces the transition and understanding time of the activity. It seems like it has worked out very well and i have now had to change my Design model from ABA to AB because I am teaching this student every day for the rest of the year and to now take away the intervention when he is having such great results would be crazy. Since we have control of our research I thought it was the only fair way to treat the student. One part of the research that I am still playing with is how in depth the second session needs to be to have effectiveness. I have kept it consistent for this study but think it would be nice to test at ome point how much of the second session is needed. I will save that for next time. All is well in the land. Blessings

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Classroom Diversity - Chapter 2

Diversity in the classroom is inevitable. The wonderful thing about working in the special education world is that education is a little bit more individualized than the general education classroom. Even though the diversity in special education might be greater than a normal classroom, it is more individualized. In special education classrooms student's ages and abilities vary immensely. With IEP's and smaller Special Ed classroom containing only 3 to 10 students, teachers are able to focus on individualized level learning.

In the special education classroom I currently work in I see a wide range of students. We have ten year old and twelve year old. Some of the children are very close to grade level intelligence and other are considered MR with limited intelligence skills and often even more limited social skills. The one great thing is that the classrooms are so small we are able to really focus on giving each student. This kind of one on one teaching gives the students the best chance of understanding subjects. The lesson plans vary for each student. We alter lesson plans and testing so that students have the most appropriate ways to show their knowledge.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Math Chapter 1 &13

Chapter 1 was a quick review about assessment and effective teaching methods. The part that I liked was about student involvement in activities. I like how the book stated that if the students have nothing to do, they will find something, and most likely it will be something we do not care for as educators. I notice this concept both in the classrooms I help in and the time I spend with students teaching activities. My goal is to keep them engaged in the lessons. Whether it is a fun lesson or not isn't the issue. Hopefully I am finding exciting ways to teach, but the big issue is that the appropriate material is taught. Teachers can try to make their classes fun, but can miss the academic goals for student enjoyment. I am trying to find the balance where I work. Free time for the students right now is not working out well. The social skills in the classroom are not well developed and often any free time turns into arguments. So I have reduce almost all free time and am giving only very direct free time activities like math and reading games until the Students develop a more appropriate manners.

Chapter 13 was a about, Effective Practice. I found a number of the math card games appropriate for the classes I help in currently. It is nice that the book gives so many example games for the Students. We are currently working on adding and subtracting fractions. The scavenger hunt games are nice ways to make this tougher subject a little more manageable.

Everyone take care,

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Writing and Reading Chapter 8:

In response to chapter 8 of this weeks reading. I thought the book did a great job of discussing a number of ways to improve children's writing skills. In the fifth grade class I assist in we focus on building vocabulary and reading, but often skip out on writing sections. Each week we do a creative writing project based off of the reading story for the week. I like how the book gives a direct correlation between reading and writing. One of the ways I learned to write was through reading. Reading helps a person to understand sentence structure and how to build the composition of a story. The book put a nice emphasis on children reading stories and writing about them.

I thought the activities spoken of such as journal with a partner or teacher were great ways of modeling writing for the students. The journal also lets the children write in a free dialogue that might make it easier to compose their thoughts. The collaborative writing section gave me a number of ideas to work with for my student teaching.

The section I would like to use is the Change a Word, Change a Sentence. This is an easy way to show how sentences are structured. It displays the sentence and allows the children to come up with alternate words for the story. This type of activity would help in the classroom because the students I work with cannot write a complete sentence. Having the students both reading the sentence and focusing on how the sentence could be changed is a great way to model sentence composition for this group of students. The difficulty with the special ed group I work with is that a few of them are very poor readers. They struggle to know the basic sight words and have a hard time with decoding and blending. This puts a tough spin on writing. The students who struggle with reading and phonics have a difficult time writing. One way that could make things a little easier for their learning would be to do more modeling of sentences separate from a story. Allowing the children to focus, one sentence at a time. While teaching the students about proper gramar and tenses. I thought the book gave a number of technniques and activities that will be useful in teaching...