Monday, September 30, 2013

Week Six of my Intern Year

I participated in my first Eligibility meeting this past week. I was able to meet with one of my students parents' and discuss what we have been doing in the classroom. This entire meeting was exactly what I expected, and the parents seemed to be very supportive of their child, as well as what we are doing in school. I was able to tell the parents my transition plan I have begun with the student, and what I plan to implement in the upcoming weeks. I felt super excited to hear that the parents wanted any thing to be sent home to implement at home as well. I felt after the meeting that I am doing a good thing for the student, and helping the student strive for more. I also became aware that the student loves coming to school, even if misbehavior is high that day. The mother explained how he runs to the car every morning. After reflecting with my mentor teacher, I felt this was very exciting news because that is the first step in transitioning the child to the regular ed classroom. I have high hopes that this student will eventually transition to the classroom with an Aid, mainly because the parents are helping support what we implement at school in their home. The next step is writing the IEP and goals for the student. I look forward to this next step!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Week Five of my Intern Year

This week, I made a few discoveries towards my research. I downloaded a few apps on my iPad to use in a different class from where I plan to implement my research. I had a Kindergarten student use the iPad to work on phonics. Within two days, my one student completed the entire unit, and once reviewing the endings (i.e. "-ap," "-an," etc.), I observed that what he learned was retained. I had him review the endings by utilizing magnet letters to build the same words. Every word I instructed him to build, he did correctly and pronounced the word correctly. The app is built to build/spell words, and gives the audio pronunciation for the child to hear. This seemed to work well, and the student enjoyed working on this application. I plan to use similar, but a different application and can't wait to see how this plays out in the classroom with different ability levels.

I also made progress with the transition plan I began implementing. Halfway through the week, I decided the student was ready to take the next step. From the beginning, the student was to go to the regular education room, move his name to hot lunch, or cold lunch, say hello, and leave. The next step we took was to sit in the seat he was assigned to, and complete an activity. He did very well with this step and left with no problem at all. My mentor teacher and I were very excited! Finally, I implemented a spelling lesson plan with my second grade students to practice using a variety of letters. For example, magnet letters, wipe off boards, bean bag letters, or paper cut letters. I had one student come up to me and ask me if we were going to do that activity again, and explained it was a lot of fun. I noticed that using hands-on activities with students with disabilities is a great way to help them learn/retain the information. I plan to create more creative lessons where they individually build, and repeat the spellings for them. I also created a lesson for the same students for mathematics. Instead of eating their snack, I used their snack to practice addition and subtraction. Once the student subtracted the correct number of snacks, they were allowed to eat them. This gave the students motivation to correctly spell in order to eat the snack. I'm having so much fun making creative hands-on activities, and while I can manipulate to make the lessons better, my first try typically works.

My last thing I want to reflect on is my first differentiated station lessons in the regular education class. Each station was designed around second grade CSOs and the Johnny Appleseed Unit. My students loved the stations and I even reflected after the first day, and adjusted two stations to meet their needs. Instead of plain worksheets for those two stations (we did the first day), I took those stations and created games with foam cut outs. I also incorporated a science station and they made apple cycle trees. The stations were fun, and the behavior was okay, but could be better. I wonder if going over correct behaviors as a class would help. I know second grade is just beginning to go over these correct behaviors, so it may take a while to adjust to.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

week four

During week five of my internship, I overcame many obstacles. I have learned this week to always believe in the students and to push them to their greatest capability. For example, my one student is at a higher level than the other two at his grade level. However, he is still not on grade level. The more I push him, the more confidence he has. Sometimes, sitting with him and giving a pep talk works really well to keep him motivated. I discovered on Friday that he passed his general education reading test by only missing one point. I was so excited and felt very accomplished. Another example this week was finding a transition plan for my one student with Autism. Once I figured out that counting to ten in beats worked, transitions became a little more easy. I also spent a large amount of time working with him on sounds for the alphabet. The next day, he surprised me greatly by reading and sounding out words with a first grade level book. I decided to try a few apps on my iPad with him since it appeared he enjoyed working with technology. These lessons worked so well and he was able to practice reading and making words accurately with the -an ending. Another surprise I came across was he correctly completed math problems at the second grade level on the iPad app, Math Splash. Finally, the last surprise I had was during a melt down he had while trying to transition. He was laying on the floor and saw sign language for the alphabet. He then began teaching himself, and I jumped in and helped him. He remembered most of the letters the next day. Pushing this student to transition back into the general education setting has been a challenge but is a great experience, and seems to be working.

Overall, this week showed me believing in your students, and finding creative ways to practice content has been very successful. I've been able to connect with my students better, and gives me more ideas every day for my action research. I am excited to see how my research goes utilizing the iPad in the classroom. The students seem to love when I bring the technology out and they become engaged almost immediately. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

week 3 of my intern year

After reviewing my portfolio with my mentor teacher, we discussed what I felt was great aspects I included. I felt that a great strength was the variety of examples I included, and it showed the effort I put into each project. My teacher said that she loved that I could use these projects and implement them into my instruction. She also said she really enjoyed my CHPR unit because I could effectively implement this into a resource room for students that don't have those general skills. She especially liked that the worksheets for the unit plan were already included.

I think for my year five portfolio, I will use pieces of my education experience that reflect my educational philosophy, just like my fourth year portfolio. My research I plan to conduct will also be a great piece for my portfolio because I am centering it around my philosophy by implementing technology. I also plan to use videos that show my creative lessons and variety of techniques that attempt to reach all learning types. Making sure my lessons are diverse is important to me, even if that means that some lessons may fail by bringing in new ideas to the classroom.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Week Two of Intern Year

My second week of my internship went really well! We began pulling students out of the classroom after finalizing the schedule for special education services. During the inclusion settings, I began to get to know the students better, and adjusted to the different classroom routines. In the mornings, I am in a second grade classroom for Mathematics and Reading. I am also in a fourth grade class for Reading. In the afternoons, I am in the resource room with four students for reading. I was able to conduct a baseline test for the students site words. At the beginning of the week, one student struggled with pre-primer words, and I implemented a reward system to motivate the student. By Friday, the student missed less than five words and improved drastically. I'm so excited to work with this student this semester to help him get to grade level.

I am beginning to get ideas on what to do for my research, which will be conducted in an inclusion setting at the second grade level. I was able to go over time, the calendar, and money. I was able to connect these items to real-life and help students at different stations. Overall, I am looking forward to working with these teachers and students all semester.

I also found out this week that one of the special education teacher positions was filled, and I am excited to see/meet this teacher because she is from California. This semester has been so far so good.