Seminar Nineteen

What specific accommodations or modifications might you use with students with autism (hint: answer to this question can copy/paste to your A&M project)?

-Define classroom areas:

  • Individual work areas
  • Free times areas
  • Open areas for discussion

-Keep classroom organized

-Have a designated seat for the child

-Keep a daily class schedule in the classroom

-Have a playground or areas for student to let off steam

-Have a home base area for student to escape classroom stimulation for a while

-Seat student in a low traffic area in the classroom

-Face desks away from distractions

-Help student learn to handle distractions over time

-Avoid touching student

-Teach tolerance

-Avoid using heavy perfumes

-Use lower level over head lights

What concerns or questions do you have about working with students with autism (I will compile a list of these and bring it to class)?  Make sure to reference the readings in your answer.

I am not really concerned about working with children with autism.  My sister has autism and I have worked with many of these students in the past.


Seminar Seventeen

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?

One strategy that I saw in the reading was organizational goals. Students with ADHD sometimes cause students to become disorganized so having organizational skills and goals will help these students. Another strategy that I saw was multi-modal treatments. This is when there are methods through many fields, such as medicine or behavioral programming. Errorless learning is when students are taught to do work with out errors to ensure students learn new skills. This is a method of teaching that will work well with students that have ADD or ADHD rather than trial and error learning. Video self-modeling is used to teach self-regulation skills and is another good strategy to use.

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

Some things that are not helpful are just allowing students to have endless time to do things in school. Although giving extra time on assignments can be helpful sometimes, I think it is often used and sometimes can be ineffective. Students still need to have some deadlines so they learn to be more on task and complete assignments in a timely fashion.

  • 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 just concerned that I will struggle with meeting the needs of these students while also meeting the needs of other students. I am also nervous about helping interactions between these students and other students in the classroom. In my classroom many students get annoyed by a student that has ADHD because that student is constantly moving. My teacher often moves his seat, but other students still get frustrated and I am not sure how to help.

For those of you who are interested, here are some maps and statistics from the CDC about ADHD rates and medication usage.

Seminar Fourteen

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

I really liked reading about the different ways that students are accommodated. I think that it listed a lot of great ideas that I will refer back to when I am a classroom teacher. I also liked the part on the Dysgraphia website about ways to create a writing assignment. It gave the acronym POWER:

Prepare- list all your ideas

Organize- assemble the ideas

Write the draft

Edit- looking for and correcting any errors

Revise- write the final draft

I really also found the classroom accommodations for helping students with slow processing speed interesting. Over the summer I worked at a summer camp and I had a girl with extremely slow processing, which started me thinking about how I would accommodate her in the classroom. This gave me some really great ideas that I wish I had know over the summer to help her.

I did not have that many ah-ha moments when reading this because I feel like we have already worked with accommodations and modifications in the classroom, but it was interesting to learn more about specific accommodations for each disability.

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)

  • Chunk tasks into smaller parts
  • Giving directions verbally or written
  • Give more time to finish tests
  • Let students use tape recorders
  • Use software to spell check, grammar check or recognize speech
  • Provide audio books
  • Provide picture instructions
  • Provide different ways to respond to answers
  • Show examples of work
  • Arrange work easiest to hardest
  • Pre-teach new and important concepts

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

Can you please explain more about Dyspraxia?

What is the difference between Dyspraxia and Dysgraphia?

Seminar Thirteen

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

Culture is a way of describing the combination of various groups that someone belongs. These groups could be racial, ethnic, religious, social and many others. It is essential that teachers understand how their culture can affect a student. Schools today are culturally and linguistically diverse so it is important for educators to remember that in the classroom. Cultural competence is when you can learn from and respectfully relate to other cultural backgrounds, heritages and traditions. To become culturally responsive means to understand that culture has a role in education and to actively learn about student’s cultures and communities. It also means to learn about the beliefs and values of a variety of cultures, whether or not those cultures are represented in the classroom. The final way to become culturally responsive is to broaden your awareness and gain insight on issues that students may face, along with their families and communities. Some ways that you can learn about other cultures is to attend professional development, interview students and read about cultures. A linguistically responsive educator is knowledgeable of the fact that many students today speak English as a second language and provide instruction for a variety of languages.

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

To support students who are linguistically diverse in the classroom you can use manipulative. These are hands on materials that will help the student understand concepts that are more abstract. The teacher can connect these manipulatives to vocabulary terms. Another helpful too is a word wall. This is a way to display vocabulary that students should learn. One way that can be effective is teaching the words then referring to then later when they are stated during instruction. This tool is a way to support students learning if they are confused. Another thing that can help a linguistically diverse student could be a real object, picture or graphic. This way the student is able to see the information that is being discussed. Cooperative learning can maximize learning by having students work with their peers and support each other. It is important to build on background knowledge that the student may already have about a topic so they are able to make real life connections to what is being discussed in class. Labels are a way to help students learn vocabulary around the room. If a child is still learning to speak English then they will be able to see the words in English along with their native language. Technology is a way to assist students in the classroom who are linguistically diverse. There are many online tools such as movies, simulations, interactive models and games that can help students understand new concepts.

Seminar Nine

What do you understand about 504 plans that you didn’t before?

This article was helpful to answer some questions I had about 504 plans. I found it interesting to learn about the differences between a 504 plan and an IEP. I also learned that even if the child is in high school they can still benefit from getting a 504 plan.

 What questions still remain for you?  

I am still confused about what accommodations and modifications can be given before a child has a 504 plan or an IEP. I understand that you can give children accommodations in tier two, but how is that different from tier three?

If a child has an IEP does the teacher need to send home updates regularly on how that child is meeting or not meeting their goals?

What aspects of special education law or the referral process would you like more practice with before the end of the semester?

I would like to learn more about when to use each plan. I think that it would be interesting to have us read different summaries about a child and decide if they should have an IEP or a 504. I still feel like I am struggling to understand the differences between them and I think that this would help me.

Seminar Seven

What is most interesting to you about the special education referral process?

I find it interesting that anyone can refer a child to special education, including the parent. This seems like it could be problematic because if their child is slightly struggling they may refer them, even though they do not need to be. Something else I found interesting was that a parent has the right to give you, or not give you, access to their child’s educational record. I cannot imagine having an IEP meeting and discussing a child, without knowing their educational records.

Which parts do you think are most challenging for schools?

I would imagine that one of the most challenging parts of the referral process is the parent involvement. I am sure that some parents are great, but other parents would be very difficult to track down, especially since they need to approve each part of the process. I think that another challenge of an IEP meeting would be if you had a file a complaint against the parent. This would be very difficult for me, but I have to keep the students best interests in mind.

After reading about the process, what parts do you think would cause you the most concern as a classroom teacher?

I think one of my biggest concerns would be meeting with the parents and having their consent to continue with the process of implementing an IEP or 504. Also, this process seems to take a long time from the beginning of the referral until when the actual IEP is finalized. I think it may be hard to accommodate this student in the classroom during that time because I am not allowed to give them special accommodations or modifications. I do like that there are early intervention services that are provided so that the child can use these until they are formally identified.

Seminar Six

What do you understand about law now that you didn’t before?

I now understand that each act has a different purpose. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a law for schools that provides services to children with disabilities. This provides accommodations, special education services, and Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and free and appropriate education. The Americans with Disabilities Act is a law that protects people with disabilities. This act allows legal rights and freedom from discrimination. The Section 504 is a law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability. This law allows students to receive 504 plans, free education, and legal rights for those with disabilities.

There are some core principles of IDEA, which include zero reject, nondiscriminatory evaluation, individualized and appropriate education, least restrictive environment, procedural due process, and parent participation. Zero reject means that all students with disabilities have the right to receive free and appropriate education. Nondiscriminatory evaluation is assessment of students that have or are expected to have a disability. Individualized and appropriate education is students must receive an individualized service to benefit their education. Least restrictive environment is students with disabilities should be educated in a setting with students that do not have disabilities. Procedural due process is when schools are parents hold each other mutually accountable. Parent participation is when parents and students with disabilities are partners with the educators when making decisions about the student’s education.

Why do you think laws might be important to support students with disabilities?  

It is really important for laws to be made about students with disabilities. Every student should have the right to an appropriate education, even if the child has a disability. Having these laws in place protects students and ensures they are getting the education they deserve. Also, some students may not have the money to help with their specific disability. These laws guarantee that students will receive things that they need to be successful in the classroom.

What questions or points of confusion do you still have (I will read these before class and answer ALL your questions)?

What should I do if I see another professional not following the laws about special education?

What should I do if parents do not what to have their child tested for special education?

What should I do if a parent disagrees with the results from the special education test?

How do you move a child off of an IEP or 504?


How do you move a child off of an IEP or 504?

Seminar Five

As you explore the resources related to accommodations and modifications, think about how you might be able to use these concepts to support students in your class?  

When reading about accommodations and modifications I found many great things to use in the classroom. Having adapted writing tools, paper, a voice recorder or word processor are really great things to have in the classroom for struggling students that need adaptations. I thought that having sentence starters is a great adaption for students. In my fifth grade practicum classroom many students were great writers, but they struggled beginning a sentence or a story. Having a simple accommodation such as a sentence starter would be a great way to help students that struggle with writing. Some more things that can be modified to help students are having peer readers. This is a great way to have other students in the classroom help with students who are struggling. It is important to not overuse this method because those students who are not struggling need to be challenged too. I really like the ideas of providing students with extra resources to help them when they are working on an assignment. I think that just giving students extra time when working on an assignment can be detrimental to their learning. Although some students may need more time on an activity it should not be the only method used in the classroom. Having this variety of different accommodations and modifications will be the most beneficial in the classroom.

Why might accommodations and modifications be important for student success?

Accommodations and modifications are extremely important for student success. Children sometimes need these different accommodations in order to achieve in the school setting. There are many different things that students may need modified in the classroom. Every student is different so the accommodations and modifications change depending on the students. Adaptations can improve student engagement, and less time will be devoted to classroom management. Less time with classroom manage is a huge benefit that will effect the whole classroom. When there is less time spent on classroom management more time can be spent on teaching curriculum. Students will be on task more often when there are adaptations in the classroom.

What questions do you have about accommodations and modifications?

Should we communicate with parents the students progress each week or only if they are struggling or making improvements?

Seminar Four

What is the “point” of RtI?

Response to Interventions is when interventions are provided to students who are at risk for a poor learning outcome. It is a way to assess students and provide evidence-based interventions to maximize achievement.  The point of RtI is to identify students then place them in groups that best fit their needs.  There are three groups in RtI, which include the Primary Level, Secondary Level and the Tertiary Level.  The primary level focuses on all students and they are taught curriculum given by the district.  This group is screened and monitored to see if their level changes.  The secondary level is for students that have been already identifies as as risk for poor learning outcomes.  They are given instruction in the general education classroom but may be broken up into small groups for extra instruction.  The tertiary level is for students that have not responded to the primary or secondary level of prevention.  They are given more intensive instruction and the instruction is delivered the instruction individually or in small groups.  Another point of RtI is preventing reading difficulties from developing in the classroom.  It is also a way to reduce referrals for special needs placement that is not needed.

Who might benefit and why?

It is most beneficial for students who need immediate support in schools.  It is also beneficial for students who may be in the process of identifying students with learning disabilities.  This process will also benefit teachers because it gives a better way to assess and modify things for struggling students in the classroom.  One of the other main benefits is ensuring that struggling readers have high-qality instruction in the classroom before they are referred to a special education classroom.

Why do you think implementing RtI might be a “good thing” for schools?

RTI is a great thing to have in a school because it is preventative.  Often times we see schools implementing interventions after their is already a problem.  One of the best ways to stop a problem is preventing it in the first place.  This is one of the few plans that I have seen in school that address the problem before anything actually arises.

What questions do you still have about RtI?

Would constant monitoring of student progress for RtI interfere with their actual learning?

Is this something that all schools use or is it just recently being used in elementary schools?

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