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Shannon Murtha

Curriculum Based Measurement

Based on the module and what you have learned over the last three classes, how might you use CBM in your own classroom? What strategies or tips might you use?

I would use curriculum based measurement in my classroom to track student progress and evaluate wether a student needs interventions or how those interventions are effecting student progress and understanding. In class we have discussed how excel is a really helpful tool to use to track this progress because it is visual, clear, precise, and manipulatable. It helps to lay out the entire classes data or for just one individual student. Excel makes it really easy to share data with other school faculty members, students, and parents in a way that makes sense and is visual.

What questions do you still have about using CBM?

How could we practice using CBM with the students in our practicum classes?

Using Assessment

Based on what you have read, as well as the other tools that are in your toolkit from your other classes, how might you use assessment in your classroom?

Assessments are a teachers best friend! They help us to track students understanding and adjust our instruction based off the individual needs of our students. I will use assessment in my classroom in so many different ways. I will use assessments as a diagnosis tool to gauge what my students already know so that I don’t waste instructional time on things that my students already understand, but rather build off of the things they already know. I will also use assessments during lessons informally to get an understanding of what concepts my students are grasping and those they need to spend more time on. This will help the students in my classroom be more successful learning and be engaged in lessons we are working on because I won’t be focusing on things they have mastered. It helps the teacher individualize learning more effectively for the students.

What tips and tricks (strategies!) might you use to keep track of where your students are?

I will have a tracking sheet for each of my students so I can look back at what skills and concepts they have mastered, are working towards, and are struggling with. Universal screeners will also help me keep track of where my students are.

Gifted and Talented

What do you understand about gifted and talented or twice exceptional students that you didn’t before?

I didn’t know that twice exceptional was a thing, I thought it was an interesting term for students that have a disability but also an intellectual gift. I found it really interesting that I hadn’t heard this term before because it is pretty common among certain types of students with disabilities. I also thought it was really interesting that many teachers don’t know how to help students that are gifted and talented or twice exceptional. It is pretty common to have these students in your classroom and to leave them unchallenged is a crime in the educational community.

What specific strategies might you use to meet the needs of these students?

Some specific strategies I might use in the classroom to meet the needs of these students would be to level up their work in the areas of their strengths, this way they are being challenged by their work and are engaged in the learning. I would also make sure that I am checking in with these students making sure that they are on track with their work, often teachers leave these students alone because they assume that they understand and can do it with no problems. Allowing for multiple means of expressing information and having choice of topics for projects will also help these students stay engaged – teach to their interests!

What questions do you still have about gifted and talented students?

How do you help a student that is gifted and talented feel self-confident about their academic abilities rather then embarrassed by their peers?

Assistive Technology

For Thursday, think about how you might use assistive technology in your classroom.  How can it be useful?  Who it can support?

Assistive technology can be super helpful in the classroom! It can be useful for students that have a hard time writing, or get tired easily when writing (when writing isn’t the learning goal) students can use speech to text software to help them complete these types of assignments. Assistive technology can help a student with a visual or hearing impairment, with microphones, brail writers, or touch to speak tools that help students access information more easily. There are so many assistive technology tools that can help the students in your classroom. Based on the individual needs of students there are a vairety of tools that one can use to increase their level of involvement and understanding. It can be useful to make information more accessible, more easily produced, or able to review for the students in your classroom that need these types of supports.

What questions do you still have about assistive technology?

What if your school system opts out of a fancier more helpful assistive technology tool for one that is less expensive but doesn’t quite help the student in the right ways?

How do we help families that need these tools in their home but are reserved for school purposes only?

Communication Disabilities

Based on what you read and what you now know, what are some key strategies you are going to want to use when working with students with communication disabilities?

When working with students with communication disabilities it is important to speak slowly and clearly with a loud voice, it can also be helpful to repeat instructions. Reducing noise in the background helps the learner focus on the instruction and stay on task. Using shorter phrases helps along with writing down instructions step by step on the board for referral through out.

What questions or points of confusion do you have about working with students with communication disabilities?

How are communication disabilities different than non verbal disabilities?

Attention Deficit Disorder

As you read, think about the following questions:

  • Based on the reading, what are some strategies that might be helpful for students with ADD/ADHD?

Some strategies that might be helpful for students with ADD/ADHD would be to take movement breaks through out the day and allow for students to stand at their desks. I have also seen the bitty-bottom, T-stool, and exercise balls be used successfully at table seats. It also can help to not have too many distractions on the walls and to give adequate transition time.

  • What are some strategies that would be unhelpful (have you seen examples in schools?)?

I have seen many schools give extra time on assignments and exams, while this can be helpful for some things it often becomes too heavily relied on and the student becomes unproductive. It is also not helpful to constantly shorten assignments for students because then there is a large gap of learning that they have missed over time.

  • What concerns do you still have about meeting the needs of students with ADD?  What specifics do you hope we discuss in class?

I am still concerned about meeting some of the needs with students with ADD/ADHD while keeping the rest of the class focused on learning. I have seen very often teachers that feel like the off task behaviors have taken over the classroom. This is particularly evident with younger grades because there are so many copy-cat behaviors. How do we talk to students about how ‘johny’ can’t help his behaviors but they can?

Learning Disabilities

For today, you will read about different types of learning disabilities.  As you read think about the following questions:

What “ah-ha” moments did you have as a result of completing the reading? What makes sense to you now that didn’t before?

There were a lot of things in the reading that gave me that sort of ‘ah-ha’ moment, one that really stood out to me were the studies that focused on how different brains learn. I have always heard a range of information about the types of learners, I found this as an ah-ha moment because I didn’t know there was a specific term for this, cerebrodiversity. I found this helpful because it is such a reliable source and it provided me with concrete information around this topic. Another ah-ha moment that I had was that 1 out of every 5 people in the united states have some sort of learning disability. I knew that learning disabilities were fairly common but having an exact ratio helps to put the numbers into context.

What (specific) strategies might you want to use with students with learning disabilities in the classroom?  (hint: you could use this list in your Accommodations and Modifications project)

One specific strategy that i would use with a student that has dyslexia, for example, would be audio books and books with big print. This allows the student to be fully involved in our reading instruction but helps them to better understand the materials. I would also make the print bigger on worksheets for that student.

What questions/points of confusion do you hope that I will address in class?

I have a question about how to talk with students about learning disabilities so that they can be sensitive to peers that have difficulties?

Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Education

What does it mean to be a culturally and linguistically responsive educator?

As educators we are responsible for the learning of the students that come into out classroom. In today’s schools we see much more diversity in the culture and language of our students. We need to be sensitive and informed about the culture thats familiar to our students. This is important so that we can support our students and their beliefs and traditions. In schools we often see holiday celebrations or activities and this can be a problem for families with certain beliefs. As a teacher we need to work with families to create alternatives that allow the student to participate in such a way that respects their beliefs and traditions. Students with diverse languages have a really hard time learning in an english only school, again it is the teachers responsibility to work with the student and their family to support the students learning.

What are some specific strategies that you can use to support linguistically diverse students in the classroom?

Some specific strategies that I can use to support a linguistically diverse student are manipulative to help understand concepts on a physical level and word walls to have a variety of words visually available in the classroom. Having pictures as representations help students understand meaning and labels through out the classroom help students become familiar with common classroom words. Technology is also a huge tool available to help bridge the language barrier, a microphone to amplify sound, and reading out loud interactively helps students understand the meaning of words.

Co-teaching

Based on what you have learned about the law and supporting all students (through UDL, DI) how might co-teaching support students?

Co-teaching can help to support students because it is often difficult for a teacher to be able to meet the diverse needs of all the students in the class on their own. Having more than one teacher in the classroom can help address each of the individual needs in the room. It is helpful to bounce ideas off of each other and think of ways to help students learn more effectively. This can involve helping gifted students work on a more challenging activity. Or, having the ability to take the time to work with struggling students on concepts more slowly and personally. It also is helpful so that one or more teachers can address 504 or IEP requirements. This is why co-teaching can possibly help support students with a diverse set of needs.

How might you use co-teaching?

I would use co-teaching to make learning more individualized for the learners in my classroom. Co-teaching allows for more one-on-one learning and activities. Having more than one teacher allows you to pull a student or group of students out of the room, or to a different activity to focus on skills and concepts that they have been having trouble with. Or, to complete a more advanced and higher order thinking activity or lesson with a different group that is gifted.

What might be some of the challenges that you will face in implementing co-teaching?

Co-teaching could become challenging if the teachers don’t see eye to eye on how best to engage students in a lesson. If the teachers are not on the same page it can be confusing for the teachers and the students. If the co-teachers have very different believes and teaching styles there can be a disconnect in classroom learning. It can be challenging to come to common ground can be really beneficial for the classroom environment and student learning.

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