Sunday, April 26, 2015

Social Justice Event

For my Social Justice Event, I attended an Educational Evaluation Team Meeting at the Margret Robertson Elementary School; which is the same school that I volunteer in for my service learning.  The Evaluation Team Meeting was on a 6 year old male kindergarten student. For purposes of this post, I will refer to him as RM.  In attendance at the meeting was the mother of RM, the classroom teacher, the Speech and Language Pathologist, Guidance Counselor, a School Psychologist, Building Principal, the Educational Evaluation tester, an Occupational Therapist, a Student Teacher, and myself.  RM did not attend preschool and entered kindergarten with an IEP for social/emotional support for a Separation Anxiety Disorder and an IEP for speech and language, Developmental Delay, and he also takes medication for ADHD.  RM was referred to the Response to Intervention Team (RTI) on October 28, 2014 for discussion about his limited academic progress.  It was decided at this point by the RTI team, that RM was eligible for RTI Services in literacy and mathematics.  At the time of this evaluation meeting, RM had made some academic progress in both literacy and mathematics, but continued to demonstrate significant delays in reaching academic benchmark.  It was the feeling of the classroom teacher, his mother, and other service providers, that a referral for further evaluation was needed, thus the purpose of this meeting was to review the evaluation results.  After lengthily discussion of all tests, the following conclusions were made; RM is now eligible for Occupational Therapy due to low average test scores (RM scored 80, average is 110).  It was agree upon by all teachers present that RM had memory issues, the psychological testing/ memory tests confirmed this.  The speech and language evaluation showed overall moderate receptive and expressive delays, RM scored 76 (ave. 85-115).  He was in the 22 percentile for speech production.  The Educational Evaluation showed developmental delays also.  The meeting concluded with RM being eligible for the following services; IEP for mathematics and language arts, IEP for occupational therapy, and continued speech and language IEP services.  The team decided on a transition plan for RM to transition to a kindergarten inclusion classroom for the remainder of the school year.  He will integrate with his current mainstream classroom for limited amounts of time, in order to preserve gains made in his emotional/social wellbeing and to minimalize any regression with his separation anxiety disorder.  This plan will begin immediately upon parent approval.    
            With what I have heard from attending this meeting, reminded me a lot about “Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome” by Christopher Kliewer and the movie we watched in class, Going To School: Ir a la Escuela.  RM doesn’t have the same disabilities like the students in the movie had or have Down Syndrome like the students who are talked about in the reading.  But what they do have in common is that they both could be put in classrooms away from mainstream students but they aren’t.  Instead they are put into the same classrooms as mainstream students.  The students in both the reading and the movie are put in them to be looked at and treated equally to the other students.  In both cases with RM and the students from the reading and movie, they want to learn the same things even if they need extra help.  Being in classrooms with just students with disabilities or just students who have IEPs wouldn’t be fair or right. 

            Another reading I can tie this event to is “Safe Spaces” by August.  I would connect it to this reading because RM considers the classroom that he is in a safe space.  It’s a place that has a teacher who makes him feel confortable and classmates who make him feel welcomed and because of this, it helps his Separation Anxiety Disorder.  He were to be made to change class this far in the school year, RM would feel “safe”.  He wouldn’t feel comfortable like he does in his classroom (Safe Space).  It would affect his disorder and probably not help him while he’s trying to learn.   

Monday, April 20, 2015

I want to do an extended comment on three people’s blog posts, Noah’s, Kaileen’s, and Josh’s.  I want to start first off by saying great job to all of you guys!!

Noah- I completely agree with your whole last paragraph, I do not feel prepared for the real world at all!  “They say high school trains you for the real world but it doesn’t.” (Noah)  All it does is teach you how to remember things.  I personally believe that college can’t even properly set you up for the real world.  No amount of school can fully prepare you for things you will experience as an adult.  Especially as a teacher!

Quote 1- I agree with completely with that teachers have a huge effect on their students as learners.  Like Kaileen wrote, “there are no stupid questions”, I think teachers should answer each and every students questions.  Some students don’t get things the first time they are taught.  Personally over my years of school if I didn’t understand something I tended to ask a lot of questions.  When I was in third grade I had a teacher who was an older lady.  I had such a bad experience with her, I didn’t want to go back to school.  I had a hard time trying to enjoy learning when I started fourth grade.
Quote 2-Working in a daycare, I have had somewhat of an experience of working in a classroom.  Each classroom has somewhat of similar rules, but some teachers add a few extra to make their classroom the best it can be.  I can say when I first started working at the day care, if a student wasn’t doing what they were supposed to I would say “ (insert child’s name) is that what were are supposed to be doing?” or “ (insert child’s name) are we using our walking feet?”  Sometimes the child would stop, other times they wouldn’t.  I agree with how Josh said the student might get confused when posed the question.  That’s something I’m going to work on!  
Quote 3- I agree with Kaileen.  Students are taught to be critical thinkers but many have trouble because they don’t eve understand the basic information that they should know in order to think at a higher level.  I agree with both of you about how it connects with Finn and Oakes and the activity we did in class.  Those some of those questions we couldn’t find in the reading, we had to think at a higher level.  I also agree that standardize testing.  Sometimes I believe that schools should just stick to the basics instead of trying to teach students things that are too hard for them to understand.
Quote 4- This quote is crazy but so true.  Walking into our service learning schools, most of us could probably tell that the schools don’t get a lot of money.  My school I’m working in, the teachers don’t even have their own computers.  The student’s computers are somewhat outdated.  The schools could use some fixing up, especially the bathrooms.  Schools in nicer towns most definitely get more money.  Some schools are now supplying their students with laptops that I believe that they will have throughout their years in the school district.  I’m not sure if that comes from school budgets of state money, but that shows them giving better schools new things.  What Josh said about RIC is CRAZY!! I feel like no student can graduate in four years from here without taking a full load of classes over the summer.  I don’t think I will be able to graduate in the time I want to because I wasn’t properly notified that I had a problem with a class for my major.  It stinks when the students in some way get “punished” for not being able to graduate in four years, depending on their majors.

I really like this video I think everyone should watch it!  

Sunday, April 12, 2015

citizenship in school

I want to start off this blog post by saying that I LOVE CHILDREN WHO HAVE DOWN-SYNDROM!!!!(just like Kaileen :) ) They steal my heart the minute I see them.  My goal in life is to make the lives of children who have disabilities the BEST it can be.  ‘” Now we know that people with disabilities can learn and have a full, rich life.  The challenge is to erase negative attitudes about people with developmental disabilities, get rid of the stereotypes and break the barriers for people with disabilities.’” (Kingsley, 1996, p.6)  I want to be that person who can erase those negative attitudes.  Children who were born with down syndrome are just like you and me except they were born with an extra chromosome.  They are fully capable to do the same things as we can except they might just need extra help with it. 

“’ Lee is, in a sense, in a way he’s branded. People see him. They see Down syndrome. They see mental challenge, retardation, whatever you want to call it. That’s what they see, but thy wouldn’t be seeing him.’” (Kliewer 84)
This is awful!  I could never imagine looking at a child and labeling them on how they look.  Lee is capable of doing things just like I am.  But like Shayne said, he does things differently.  When Lee was asked to sort the spoons and blocks.  The psychologist who was watching him do this didn’t give him credit because he “didn’t do it right”.  Like Shayne said, Lee did exactly that what the psychologist said to do except, he did it in a way he understood it.  Lee shouldn’t get labeled just because he thinks in a different way then we do or doing things differently.        
I want to be a special education teacher one day and I am always going to keep in mind about what Shayne did for Isaac.  Isaac is in a classroom with other students who don’t have disabilities.  I like how she made activities to fit the needs of all her students.  Instead of the students doing activities like panoramas and drawings of a book they read, she had them create/preform a play based off the book.  She was able to meet the needs of everyone.  She could have singled out Isaac in a way knowing this was not his strong point, but instead she picked something that she knew that he would love and be able to connect with his classmates.

I personally had a friend in high school named Tim.  Tim was one of the happiest kids I know.  There was never a day where he wasn’t smiling.  But Tim had down syndrome.  Tim had an aid who used to assist him when he needed it.  I never saw Tim as being different than my friends and I.  I saw his as equal.  Tho Tim might of not had all the skills as I had, he was still a very smart kid.  Tim would go around each week doing school store on our free periods.  He was usually in charge of the money and giving back change when needed.  I would assist him if he ever needed help.  Every week, during the school day, Tim would go work in the local Daves market usually in the bakery.  He would come back to school and during lunch, she would have stickers/ labels all over him.  I would always ask him how work was.  Most of the time he would just smile because he wasn’t very verbal, but we found a way to communicate.  He also played unified sports with me for the high school and town teams.  He was an excellent volleyball player.  Most of the times he would only listen to me while on the court when going to serve.  I would always say to him; “Ready Tim…1..2..3...Go!” and he would serve the ball.  He was the best server on the team.  He would laugh if he fell down during a game, because he knew he was soo close to making the play.  He used to all shout out “safe” like umps do in baseball games.  I could never look at Tim and label him nor will I ever do that with anyone ever!

I want to end it by saying that this reading reminds me of "Safe Spaces", and for a child who has disabilities sometimes are already nervous about coming to school, but they shouldn't because schools should be for them a safe place where they know they will be excepted.
sorry this is long but its worth watching!!!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Literacy with an Attitude

While doing this weeks reading, chapter 2 stuck out to me the most.  I’ve grown up and lived in an upper middle class town my whole life.  I have been able to experience on first hand how child who live in poverty get taught.  I always thought that they wouldn’t get as in depth taught as I did due to the fact that they probability do have someone to help them out at home like I did.  But what I didn’t totally realize about all the points that Patrick Flinn stated.
Jean Anyon did a study with five elementary schools that we located in New Jersey.  The five schools ranged from being located in rich neighborhoods and in poor ones.  Anyon said that the schools we nearly all white students.  All the schools had to follow the same state requirements and there school curriculums were pretty much based off the same material, but there were many differences.
1.    two working class schools (dominate theme: resistance)
a.     most of the teachers born in the same city but lived in better sections
b.     young
c.      recently graduated from local teachers college
d.     knowledge presented in fragmented facts isolated from bigger bodies of meaning
e.     work was followed in steps and procedures
f.      students didn’t have many choices
g.     teachers didn’t really explain why work was assigned or how it connected to other assignments
h.     teachers would skip lessons in books because they thought it was too hard for the students
i.       used some different text books because they were for “low ability students”
j.       students have to copy lot of information the teacher says or that is written in a book
k.     doing lower level “easy” work
l.       learning basic concepts
m.   not being able to participate in hands on activities
n.     teachers try everything to control their students, call parents, discipline other students
2.    middle class school (dominate theme: possibility)
a.     1/3 teachers grew up in the neighborhood of the school
b.     graduated from local state teacher schools
c.      seem their job is to teach the knowledge found in textbooks or stuff curriculm experts say
d.     value that information more than experiences
e.     correct students when they say something wrong and educate them why their answer was incorrect
f.      use books that are intended for a grade level above, but use them because there purpose is to introduce fundamental concepts
g.     they do all different types of work (papers, tests, assignments)
h.     knowledge is more conceptual
i.       teachers range from easy to strict
3.    affluent professional school (dominate theme: individualism)
a.     teachers come from all over state
b.     come from middle to upper class backgrounds
c.      creativity and personal development are important goals
d.     teachers want students to think for themselves
e.     make sense for their own experiences
f.      able to create questions for other students to answer
g.     collect data, make films, experiments, crafts, projects
h.     doesn’t matter if the students answer is right or wrong
i.       students get more freedom to explore things and figure out answers on their own
j.       high level concepts
k.     work with current events
l.       hands on work
m.   not many behavioral issues
4.    executive elite schools (dominate theme: excellence)
a.     teachers were women who were well off
b.     knowledge was academic, intellectual, rigorous
c.      difficult concepts taught
d.     a lot of work
e.     logical thinking
f.      wok is complex
g.     children are required to plan and teach lessons
h.     allowed to use/get any material they wanted whenever they needed it, even if it was in the teachers desk
i.       sometimes rude

I never realized that there were so many differences between different schools that have students from different backgrounds.  I believe that no matter where you go to school, all basic concepts that are taught should be pretty much the same all around the board.

I like how Allee compare the dominate themes of each type of school to her service learning school.  I have to agree with her, my students don’t show resistance(1).  My students want to learn and are opened to discover new things(2).  My teacher tries her best to teach students how to be independent, but because of their background, some need extra help(3).