Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lesson Design

This book Teaching Mathmatics to all Children by Benny F. tucker, Ann H. Singleton, and Terry L. Weaver is a practical guide. The examples they give in ways to teach and adapt lesson plans will truly be helpful as a new teacher. My favorite part was this approach: "Let's think about what we already know that can help us here." This creates a positive way to help motivate a child to continue trying a difucult problem. It builds their self esteem, pumping up their welf worth. It helps them realize they are smart and can figure it out. Many times struggling students, give up. They are aware that their grades are lower than peers and as the curriculum gets harder they throw in the towel. Using this positve phrase helps their self-esteem as the teacher reaffimrs the knowledge and skills the student has already mastered. By doing this, the teacher is using graduated guidance to help the student figure out the new problem on his won with positve supports around him/her. The student still does all the work and gains more self-confidence once the correct answer is determined. This can be used in any subject making it an effective tool in any classroom.

Diversity in the classroom

Wow, classrooms are constantly changing. My grandfather went to a one room school house. I wonder if they had students with learning disabilities. He is no longer here with us so I cannot ask. I'm doubting it as my grandfather only went to school through 8th grade before going to work on the farm and then retiring from GE. My grandfather was a self taught man. He had science projects set up all around the house. He built his own home which to this day is more solid than newer homes. Amazing, I wouldnt think of letting someone build my home or do repairs without having some sort of training. I know that back in this time most indivduals with disabilities were institutionalized. For years people have tried to get me working with special needs children. I didnt think I could handle it. I cried my first week; but now wouldnt trade it even on the worst of days.
I beleieve in inclusion. I don't however agree that 100% inclusion is appropriate for every indivdual in all settings. I am happy that classrooms are more inclusive than ever. I believe it makes a more tolerable society. I work primarily with Autistic children. Most of them look typical; yet some have self-stimulatory behavior or severe tantrums in response to light or noise. On community outings (especially families in the community) many of my parents feel overwhelmed with stress to have their children appear typical. They are not embaressed by their children but by their children's behaviors. These children have not yet built the skills to self regualte behaviors or have not built coping skills to deal with the noise or light. Many avoid taking their children out in public because of this. These children are losing out on the many life choices and situations to learn from their peers. They are missing out on playing on playgrounds where they have choices of what to play on and modeling typical peers playing for example.
In the classroom I believe students can learn in an inclusive and diverse room. I love learning about other peoples heritage. I especially love the food and dancing. Each person in this world has something to give and something to learn. While watching Gran Torino, I learned that in Mong culture that looking a person in the eye is offensive. Whereas, in the US it is a sign of respect. I am sure that many people have been offended by others of another cultures purely because of misinterpretation of body language or words. Allowing classrooms to become more diverse should lessen this gap and hopefully slow the violence within our schools.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Wow, a lot of great ideas in teaching math. I think that it is a lifeskill. Everyone should be able to at the very least buy items and understand how money works. I especially agree that when grading multiple digit addition problems or any math problems that the key is the process not always the correct answer. We all make errors. Its a fact. But as long as we understand how to do the problems we can always find our error. I liked in school when we at least got partial credit for showing our work even if we made an error. I do wonder though that in today...will we forget how to do math problems. Everyone uses a calculator now or everything is computerized.....


Reading is important for safety. But I want to remind everyone that reading is also a leisure activity. I still to this day love to read Amelia Bedelia, Ramona and where the siewalk ends. I think that choosing books that get children excited to read is important. When your interested and its fun it becomes not work. In grade school I wish my teachers would have picked some fun books instead of the boring see jane go up the hill. Later in school, I had a teacher who read to us. We were in 6th grade but we looked forward to it every day. She picked books that engaged us. It made me look for books as exciting as she found.
Writing is also important. Writing is story telling to letter formation. I know that everything today is computerized and most things are typed. I wonder....I've heard.... they no longer teach cursive handwriting. I know that some students have poor penmanship and it would be easier to grade typed papers but there's something to be said about a good old fashioned snail mail letter. I hope that art never goes away. I know a little off topic but not too far. It was just on my mind.
A friend of mine teaches and she went home to CA over the summer.She wrote each of her students a postcard. They loved them. On the first day of school they talked about it the whole day. Its a big deal to get mail when you're young. It's still a big deal to get something in the mail other than bills and catalogs.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

article 3

I am even more excited about getting my masters in special education. In high school I wrote my junior thesis paper on nature vs nurture regarding homosexuality. I determined that biologically the brain was different in heterosexuals than homosexuals but ultimately it was the effect of both environment and biological factors that determined one's sexual preference. Now I'm reading articles related to diferences in the brain that may contribute to LDs. The article clearly suggests that early intervention can diminish the gap between a students reading ability with that of his/her peers. This makes sense. However, I think that most schools don't emphasize the importance of reading skills and their effect across subjects. In math for example you can't take trigonemtry until you've passed algebra and can't take calculus until you've passed both trigonemtry and algebra. A student that cannot read or comprehend what he/she is reading is still moved along in science, history, english etc. How? The don't have the building blocks to understand what they are reading. some students may be able to "fake it" by listening in class. They may have adjusted to lack of reading skills by paying better attention and increasing their oral listening skills. This is not helping them but only hindering their reading skills. If we can determine that an LD is partly biological it would be then covered under most insurances. These students would then be covered by law to get the necessary help they need and deserve.

article 1 & 2

Are the interelated? Do they cause one another? Which comes first depression/anxiety or the LD? With the push for inclusion, I'm hoping that both teachers and students become gentler and more tolerant of others disablities; whether emotional, physical, social or mental. I can rmember my peers teasing other peers because they wore glasses or were slower than the rest of us. Dental braces on the other hand were as common as the new fad of sneakers; no one got teased.
Grade school through high school, I was always part of the in crowd, top of my class and involved in everything. I never teased my peers. Maybe because I was trying to hide what was goin on at home that I overcompensated at school. No one ever knew my home issues. Many still don't. However, in college I was a victim of vicious crime. Everything fell apart. The lie I was living, I was normal, healthy, well adjusted. I began skipping class to avoid any type of run in with my attacker. My grades dropped. My self esteem dropped. My anxiety increased 100fold. I lived in fear. Many of these LD students, I am sure feel the same way. If they are being teased or put down by teachers; they may fear coming to school. If their grades are lower than peers they becomed depressed that they can not keep up with their peers. They may begin to blame themselves when in reality it may be a diagnosed/undiagnosed LD that is causing the poor grades. We do not know what goes on behind closed doors, the student may be in a neglected or abusive environment at home. In high school I can remember teachers ridiculing students for their low performance level in class. These were students who were trying and being put down by the teacher. The teacher was creating a hostile environment. It is important to notice changes in behavior in our students. Also important to notice atypical or inappropriate behavior as well. I truly believe early intervention is a massive tool and needs implemented more; not just LD. I have seen first hand how early intervention with autistic children can work. Many of my old clients no longer need TSS services. No one would even know that they even had a diagnosis unless they were told. A lot of autistic children have self stimulatory behavior which could bring negative attention from others. The negative attention could be in the form of teasing, mocking or pointing. This in turn could lead to low self esteem. We as educators need to help our students with LD notjust with learning but socially and emotionally as well. We can create a safe environment for our students to learn in even if its only in our classroom. The support we provide may be enough to help overcome the other barriers.

article4 & 5

Immigrant students that move around often due to parents relocating for work could compound a LD or may even help create one. The student has to make new friends, adjust to new schedule, new teachers and possibly new curriculum. I can say that when I transferred from private to public school; many of my new classes retaught curriculum that I already had been taught. A waste of time in my opinion. I understand that we all learn at different speeds and while we excel in one area may fail in another. The article discusses the discrepancies of the tests that determine whether or not a child has a LD, from state to state.
I have an idea....just like at your doctors office who keeps your medical records. When you switch doctors or see a specialist they request your medical records. They record more than just your temp and blood pressure. They have all the little details, each cold, broken bone, vaccinations and any ongoing medical condition. Why not have a similar type of record in education? Why not have the same tests nationwide to determine if a child has a LD? I know that students bring their transcripts when they change schools; but those transcripts list the student's final grades and attendance. They should be more detailed. They should record class size, reading group, language, and where the student is at in spcific subjects.