CBM

Curriculum based measurement is one of the most informative forms of assessment when tracking the individual progress of a student. Considering this type of assessment is done so frequently, a teacher is better able to see the progress or digression of a student’s ability in the classroom in a more accurate manner. When students are constantly taking smaller tests, the problems that arise from test anxiety can diminish, a chart of exact data can be created to see the ups and downs, and the assumption of their ability is not measured by larger singular tests. In general, this form of assessing presents a more accurate measurement of where a student is at academically as it cancels out some of the outliers such as anxiety, bad days, and infrequency of testing.

When creating these more individualized forms of assessment the teacher needs to first find out the baseline of what the students understandings are of the content for the year. With that information, the teacher creates individual goals for the children to be tracked frequently throughout the year. From what we have learned through this class, it seems to be that when creating these goals, it may be beneficial to do so collaboratively with the student to build a stronger sense of purpose. Even when it comes to charting the data that is obtained, a student could even learn more about graphing and be held accountable for their learning by creating the graphs themselves. For example: in the fourth grade classroom that I am in now, students took a test at the beginning of the year of a bunch of random multiplication facts to see where their baseline ability was. From there they set goals of what they should be able to achieve on their weekly five minute assessors. After taking the quiz, the teacher writes down their scores and they create bar graphs in different colors showing where they are at weekly. Each student has the specific goal of increasing from where they started as well as increasing or staying the same as they did last week.

For larger scale content areas, this would be great to see how students are doing when first introducing a unit or some new piece of information. A teacher could give them a diagnostic test to see what they currently know, ask them what it is that they would like to learn and along the way collaboratively track their progress. With that information along the way, the teacher should either change the instruction to meet the needs of the students or keep it the same if they are learning the desired content and reaching their goals. That is the best part about CBM is that it gives the teacher an idea of where the students are at academically before the final test. By doing this, if students are not understanding a certain part the teacher will realize that earlier on and not on the final test when it may be too late.

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

When using assessment in the classroom it is important to do so in a way that is almost tailored to each personal student. For those students with certain disabilities, that is especially important so that the assessment is measuring something that is actually attainable. Whether that be an actual alteration of the content to make it easier for the student or giving the student a certain set of problems or a longer time frame to finish, each student will require certain alterations depending on their personal needs.

Beyond altering written assessments, not all forms of assessments should be given in the form of written tests. Although administering tests that are given in standardized forms, it is essential for students to be given assessments in the form of performance tasks. These performance tasks can better evaluate a student’s ability to apply the content beyond the basic tests. With these performance tasks, students can recreate real life situations. As shown with the creation of UBD’s in order to properly measure the student’s understanding of the standards, the teacher must do so in multiple measures.

Strategies

Keep written documentations of all the assignments that students have completed as well as their ability to do group work

Measure students on progress in comparison to letter grades (having them chart the progress could also be a confidence boost)

Have students create their own performance tasks that follow a specific rubric so that they can show their understanding of the content in a way that is more personally relatable

Allow students the option of writing, taking a test, creating a project, etc as long as it all gets at the same goals

Have students fill out self assessment sheets so they can learn to critique their own work and so the teacher knows that they know what good work should look like

Teach stress relieving strategies or any other test taking strategies for all students to learn in order to be able to take standardized tests when they need to

Give students the opportunity to reevaluate their assessments and not just accept failing grades, teach them a sense of motivation and that the need to give your best is vital

Assistive Technology

Ways it can be useful in the classroom setting:

Communicate

Perform academic tasks

Participate in social and extracurricular activities

Move or travel around the classroom

Use proper seating and positioning

Access materials

-Comes in the form or devices and services

-Assistive technology is not always expensive or big, it can come in as small devices that can be inexpensive or even free (examples of small simple AT devices: specialized writing tools, pencil grips, planners, raised line paper, highlighting tools)

Types of assistive technology that I found online and thought were interesting:

1) Talking calculators: for those visually impaired or have a hard time reading equations as part of their dyscalculia or making sense of numbers on paper, the calculator reads things aloud for students to more easily understand

2) Electronic worksheets: helps with lining up words properly on the paper and some can read aloud

3) Word prediction software: similar to autocorrect on phones

4) Text to voice: helps students hear their grammar and spelling mistakes aloud

5) Free-form database: helps with the organization of text by organizing notes

6) Personal data managers: PDA that students carry around to keep track of their day

7) Digital Pens: All of them are different but it helps with writing while still giving the student that contact of pen with paper

8) Audio books and tape recorders: these are commonly used in many classrooms and have been around for a while, they help with reading and for students who need extra support to recap what was said during a lesson

9) Adapted keyboards for various needs: can have braille on them, have larger keys to see, on screen keyboard if students cannot physically type, special shaped keyboards, and something called BAT keyboards (one handed keyboard) *There were so many types of different keyboards for students to choose from depending on their different needs. Considering this is an age that is becoming heavily reliant on computers, it makes sense why they are creating all of these adaptations for students to be able to use them.

Assistive technology makes it so students who are struggling with any sort of disability, whether social, physical or academic, can complete work in a way that is similar to their peers. Considering that all disabilities are unique, there are many different types of assistive technology that can be used to work best for each individual. No matter if a student is on an IEP or not, they can benefit from the various uses of assistive technology depending what the device or service is.

Although this is the case, it makes me wonder; does the school have to provide assistive technology if it is not stated in their IEP?

Twice Exceptional/Gifted+Talented

Idea of twice exceptional- youngsters who have clearly exceptional abilities in some areas and weaknesses in others (students such as these are both gifted but also have a learning disability) Never take time away from their strength areas to work on their weaknesses

NEVER forget to highlight the student’s areas of success and help them to continue to challenge themselves in that particular area

These students shouldn’t be sat in the corner with a text book and expected them to teach themselves new content, not only is that not actually teaching but it is unlikely that the teacher will always have a student who is self-motivated enough to teach themselves and do so in an effective manner. If a teacher handed me a textbook and told me to go off and learn some new content, I would sit there play with my pencil and wreak havoc in the classroom, I would be a very sad classroom teacher if there was a student like me!

Don’t rely on the gifted and talented students to always teach those students who don’t understand some of the concepts as quickly

Grades are not always an indicator of learning abilities. If there is a student who is constantly unchallenged, bored and who feels doing the work is meaningless, they may just not do it all together, causing their grades to drop

-20-25% of gifted students have emotional disabilities

-Do not set unrealistic goals for these students or give them an excessive amount of work in comparison to their peers, their strengths should not cause them to be punished

Strategies!

-Create a class wide acceptance to the differences that all students possess from physical differences to academic differences to social differences

-Important to know the environment that they learn best in just as a teacher would with any student in their classroom (quite rooms, soft music, lots of movement, all those things specific to each individual child)

-Teach students the bigger concepts first, then work your way in the smaller ones so that the content is presented to them in a more meaningful manner

– As with any student, goal setting is an important part of their learning

-Tie their learning to their previous knowledge and scaffold any new knowledge

-Let the student pursue outside independent projects that revolve around their areas of interest for them to show their knowledge

-These students may not excel in all areas of the content, so be sure to pay attention to what areas they are actually good at and only work with those. For example, the student may be incredible with numbers and excel in math, but struggle in writing. Considering that, the teacher should play with the students strengths by giving them more engaging curriculum in math, but keep them at grade level or provide supports for them in writing.

– Encourage the student to participate in after school activities that revolve around the content areas that they excel (math team, spelling bee, writing contests, etc)

Questions:

Can students have 504’s created if they are gifted and talented?

Should those students who are gifted and talented be placed in higher level grades? Or is it best to keep them in the grade that is socially appropriate for them?

Autism

Keep an organized classroom. With this it is important to keep a consistent place for everything to go, for example, all supplies in a specific, organized area with labels, a place for all work to be handed in, places for the books, etc. The classroom should also be organized in a way where things are not too aesthetically stimulating with too excessive of colors or a bunch of bright posters on the walls.

Give students the option of getting a typed out schedule for the day’s agenda and try as best as possible to follow that. It could be a possibility to give these students the classroom job of time keeper something along those lines to give them something to do and keep the teacher on track.

Allow students the option of using a computer whenever possible if they are non-verbal, have difficulties writing, and struggle with reading. In this category of technology, allow students the ability to use whatever tool they need to assist them in learning such as tape recorders, audio books, text to speech, or any form of technology that will help them to reach their learning goals.

Be aware of any sensitivity towards anything sensory whether it be smells, noises, touch, light, etc. With this, each student will be different. If there is a student who is easily distracted by outside noises, give them earplugs during assignments, allow them to listen to music, place them in areas with less sound, don’t let the classroom exceed a certain noise level, give them the option of doing assignments or testing in a quieter area. Depending on the specific sensory issue, the teacher will have to tailor the accommodation or modification to the specific student. Considering that, it is essential for the teacher to know the individual’s personal needs and specific triggers.

Model social situations to the student through class wide modeling, reading books about friendship/sharing, and giving the student some conversation starters.

Place much importance on how the room is physically set-up, paying especial attention to the placement of the teacher in relation to sensory items, peers and the teacher.

When grouping students be aware of all students’ social abilities. This can be done by making sure that the groups that are chosen are done so in a way that all team members are able to get along. It also helps to assign specific roles for each of the members to be responsible for.

In general, those with autism will all show different signs, have different triggers, and have different levels of severity. Keeping that in mind, the biggest thing a teacher can do is get to know the student on a personal level, speak with the parents about the student and past teachers about their experience.

Is it true that most students with autism are likely to excel specifically in one area?

 

 

Communication Disability

When working with students who have a communication disability it’s important to understand just how many different types there are. Before even discussing the strategies, it was important for me to understand two things; that there are many different types of disorders within this classification and that a speech difference does not mean a student has a disability. With this first one, there are two categories, speech disorder and language disorder. Speech involves sound production and fluency whereas language is receiving and formulating ideas from information. Within this category of speech disorders are; articulation disorder (substitution=doze/those, omission=boo/blue, addition=tahree/tree, and distortion=lisps, different word creations) , voice disorder, apraxia and fluency disorder. For the category of language disorder there are the five parts of communication that students can struggle with, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. Although this doesn’t quite answer the question pertaining to what strategies could be used, I believe that it was important for me to understand that there are so many aspects to this disorder. Considering this, there are so many different things that teachers could do depending on what part of communication that a student is struggling with.

When looking at most of the disorders associated with communication, graphic organizers appear to be very helpful as well as word walls. With these, those students who are struggling with speech will constantly be seeing and hearing those specific words. It will be the hope of the teacher that after having been exposed to those words for long enough that they will begin to understand the pronunciation and use of those words better. Although having these words up places and having students use them, it will be important to model the use of them so that students are using them in the correct manner. If a student happens to mispronounce or use a word, then it will be important for a teacher to correct that student in a positive way to help remind them of the correct way. Honestly, it appears to me that just constant use with words, reminders, and in some cases, one on one work is the only real way to help these students. Overall, as an all classroom rule, these students should not be cold called or asked to answer a question to something that might cause them embarrassment; they need teachers to grow their confidence. When their confidence grows, they will be more likely to participate in class and speak with their peers. Considering that practicing communication is a vital part of helping these students to improve, they need to know they are in a safe environment as well.

Beyond looking at the disorders, I thought an extremely important part of this article was that a speech difference does not always mean that a student has a disorder. Each student comes into the classroom with different backgrounds and from different cultures and because of that they will often have different dialects. This cannot only be seen throughout those with who speak other languages, but even within each part of the United States where everyone speaks the same language. Those in Boston have what could be misunderstood as an articulation disorder when it comes to the pronunciation of words with an ar at the end, when in fact it is merely their dialect for that area.

How do you respect a child’s dialect and still teach them what you believe to be the correct dialect of a word? It would be my understanding that the pronunciation of a word, to an extent, is a matter of perspective. Yes, blue has a universal pronunciation but what about potato? Car? Perspective? Etc.

ADHD

Helpful Strategies

Importance of having goals for the student to achieve

-These students are working towards getting better at certain aspects of their daily school lives whether it be sitting still for an entire lesson, not blurting, keeping organized, etc. Goals will give students a sense of purpose and a place to work towards. Once they do achieve that goal, it will boost their confidence and hopefully together you will be able to set a newer, more difficult goal.

Take wiggle breaks during assessments

-Considering that some assessments can take an hour at times, it would be nearly impossible to ask a student with ADHD to sit through an assessment for that long and actually do well. By giving times throughout the test to get up and move around, they are more likely to be able to sit down and focus after they have moved around a bit.

Take the assessment in two chunks

-If there are two parts to an assessment, students with ADHD could simply take half one day and the other half another day so that they are not forced to sit in a chair taking a test for a long duration.

Provide the student with a quiet space where they can be alone and free from distractions

-For those students easily distracted by visuals or sounds or those that crave the attention of their peers, giving them a quiet space to be alone to complete assignments can be beneficial to them.

Teach organization skills

Be careful with seating arrangements

-Make sure that students are seated in places that help facilitate learning by placing them in seats where they are closer to the teacher and not near students who will be distracting. It can also be helpful to have them sit next to a student who is a little stronger both academically and behaviorally, as long as they do not hinder the learning of that student by creating distractions for them.

Provide a daily schedule of activities to give them structure

Play with students strengths

-Sometimes students who struggle behaviorally, socially or academically are not reminded enough of their strengths so it is really important to point those out so they don’t feel discouraged or like they are not good at anything. It can be motivating as well, to play with those strengths and things they enjoy doing to get them to complete certain assignments.

Teach good behavior through role-plays and reminders

Provide grades based on progress (individual based to keep encouraging good work ethic)

Provide periodic rewards for the achievement of big, long term goals (only long term goals, not for every little thing they achieve. For little things, offer praise and genuine, personalized compliments)

Unhelpful Strategies

Constantly sending the child out of the classroom due to behavior

-By doing this they are losing valuable instructional time and often times their ability to self-regulate is out of their control.

Secluding the child from the rest of the classroom

-This just creates isolation, anger, depression. By doing this it could also cause the student to dislike the teacher instead of having the student respect the teacher and feel like the teacher respects them. The relationship between a student and teacher should be that of trust and respect, if this is not developing, it is unlikely a teacher can make nearly as great of an impact on a student.

Always giving them lower level work

-By never challenging the student you are doing them a disservice. This isn’t to say that you give the student extremely difficult work that is well beyond their capability, but don’t constantly give them work that never challenges them. In order to grow they need to have some challenges presented to them to see how they cope but the teacher needs to get to know the student on a personal level to see what they are capable of handling.

Learning Disabilities

When reading this there were two things that really surprised me, the amount of students with learning disabilities as well as the amount of learning disabilities that people can have. The statistic said that 1 out of 5 children have some sort of learning disability, equaling about one million children. Although there are this many children that have learning disabilities, this does not mean in any way that they are not smart or incapable of learning, many of the problems people with learning disabilities is with processing certain pieces of information.

Before having read all these articles, I was unaware of all the many types of learning disabilities that start with dys, (dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, etc) Of all those, the only one that I was really familiar with, was dyslexia. It would be my assumption that this is one of the most common one of its kind. Other learning disabilities include auditory processing disorder, visual processing issues, and slow processing speed. Nearly all revolve around this idea of a processing disorder that was talked about earlier.

Some ways that could help those students is my providing them with some accommodations in the classroom. Some of those accommodations could include making larger tasks into smaller more easily manageable parts. For example, instead of looking at an entire essay as a whole, take it one part at a time; create a topic sentence, do a little research, write an outline, write one paragraph at a time, etc. This would be great for a student with dysgraphia. Not only should a teacher help students to break work down, but they should constantly be providing these students with genuinely positive comment. It is likely that as students who struggled throughout school,  they were not always recognized for their best work. When a teacher has a student who is performing below the academic level that their peers are, it is important to show them that you care about each individual person’s personal improvement. Considering that all students are at different levels, a teacher must know what each student’s best work looks like and be sure to encourage this type of behavior with comments that reflect upon exactly what they are doing well. Not just the typical, Good Job, Nice Improvement, etc. Comments should be specific and reflective on the individual’s performance, not generic statements.

How likely is it that if a student has one learning disability that they will have another?

Could we get some practice on how to provide comments and feedback that is more individualized? I was in my practicum and the teacher told me to do this and I honestly did not know how to individualize all the comments.

Culturally and Linguistically Responsive

In order for a teacher to be culturally and linguistically responsive to students they need to first understand the individual and their culture. If a teacher does not take the time to get to know each student on a personal level, they will never be able to truly understand them or what they are going through. When planning out curriculum, it is essential for teachers to have students read about all the contributions, experiences and concerns that can relate back to each student’s diverse backgrounds. Not only, can a teacher better enhance a readers understanding by having relevant content, but it also helps the students and other students to respect diverse backgrounds. One example of this, is by reading literature that is multicultural. If a teacher has a diverse blend of students and he/she was only ever having students read about Caucasians living in the suburban areas of the United States, she is greatly hindering all students by not exposing them to all the richness that comes about from the exploration of other kinds of people.

When looking at the linguistic aspects, a teacher can do many different things to help a student out who may not be fluent in English. The following things are intended to help all students, especially those who are learning English; manipulative use, word walls, real objects/pictures/places, cooperative learning, building on background knowledge, reading aloud interactively, labeling classroom objects in multiple languages, and the effective use of technology. All these strategies not only help those learning to better perfect English, but it also helps those who already know it. Although the students who were born in the United States might understand how to say and spell desk in English, by a teacher labeling it in both languages, she/he is helping students to learn another language and potentially better relate with this new student.

Beyond the cultural and linguistic awareness, a teacher must of very aware of the family dynamic. For parents that do not necessarily speak English fluently it becomes a present barrier to communicate effectively with those parents. In order to potentially bridge that barrier, a teacher should go out of their way to begin learning the students native language and find a translator who is willing to come along for family meetings. There is also much importance of sending home information that is in their native language. This will show not only all the hard work that a person is putting in, but also, help parents to become aware. It is the hope, that when these parents see all the work that a teacher is putting in to communicate with them, that they will be more willing to work with that teacher.

Co-teaching

When a teacher is placed in a large classroom full of students that all have different abilities, it becomes difficult to reach each student’s individual needs. Two of the best ways to do that are by setting up a classroom around UDL and accepting a co-teacher. With correct practice UDL is able to better reach out to those struggling students and help with setting up a classroom that is accepting to the fact that all students have different strengths and weaknesses. By then having a co-teacher to help even adds to that. Co-teachers are a great addition to the classroom setting not only because is it another person for students to have assist them during individual or group work, but also, because it is someone who has a different set of strengths and weaknesses. As a teacher looking to create an environment for students that promotes the idea that all students are different, the fact that the teacher is practicing that same behavior when teaching will only further strengthen that argument. Considering that some people have stronger understanding of different subjects, if a teacher were to get a co-teacher whose strengths were in constructing visuals, where as another teacher excelled in verbalizing the function behind things, these two teachers could pair up to create a super lesson.

At first, the co-teaching may simply start out the co-teacher helping with grading papers or keeping students on task during instruction, then as the two teachers begin to get better acquainted with one another and the students they are able to work together more effectively. This idea of co-teaching seems to be especially helpful to those teachers that have been in the educational career for a longer duration. Not only will the person co-teaching with them be able to pick up on a bunch of effective practices that this teacher has perfected, by the older teacher will be able to see new perspectives on teaching that they may not have otherwise been exposed to. When I become a teacher, it will be my intent on having a student teacher or co-teacher whenever I can to not only help out other students but to keep my teaching fresh and modern. People can always learn from one another.

Although this all sounds wonderful, there will always be the problem of some people just not working well with another type of person. Because each person is different, it is important for the dynamic between the two teachers to work. They both must understand that they are a team that is collaborating together to reach an ultimate end goal of students learning the most they can in the most effective manner. When working together they must be open to new ideas and be willing to hear each other out before dismissing each other’s thoughts. It will also be important for each person to understand their own personal strengths and weaknesses and how those affect their team dynamic.