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Danielle (Amato) Zuhlke Early Childhood Special Education Teacher

Yates Educational Community Partnership 3260 Davenport Street Omaha, Nebraska 68131 (402)898-9145

"Drake" Age: 4 years old Grade Level: Early Childhood Special Education Goals: Social/Emotional o Taking care of his emotional needs. o Staying focused. o Playing appropriately with peers. o Handling conflict appropriately with peers.

Target Student:

“Drake” Age: 5 years old Grade Level: Early Childhood Special Education (will be going to Kindergarten in the Fall) Background: o Family’s first language is Spanish, but he speaks/understands both Spanish and English very well.


Drake has an 18 year old brother, 7 year old sister, and a 1 year old brother. o His family is very involved in his education. Goals: o Social • Handling conflict in an appropriate way. • Using his words to communicate his wants/needs. • Sharing toys/materials. o Emotional • Staying focused. • Dealing with his emotions in appropriate ways (ie. going to a calm down area to clam down when upset). • Transitioning with only one pre-transition reminder. o

Omaha Public Schools Mission Statement: The mission of the Omaha Public Schools is to provide educational opportunities which enable all students to achieve their highest potential. Educational Aims 1. High Student Achievement 2. Safe and Secure Learning Environment 3. Professional Work Force 4. Partnerships 5. Effective and Efficient use of District Resources Educational Equity Aligned with the mission of the Omaha Public Schools is the commitment to educational equity for all students, staff, and patrons of the school system. In all places and in all activities of the Omaha Public Schools, it is expected that every individual will be treated in a fair and equitable manner. All conduct will reflect a


belief in the dignity and value of each person regardless of the individual's race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, marital status, citizenship status, or economic status.

Reading & Critical Thinking

“Wash & Dry” Book: “Wash and Dry” by Trish Holland

Sort We put our clothes into different groups of the same color.



Clean our clothes.

Special soap to wash our clothes.

Creative Curriculum GOLD Standards: Literacy: #18. Comprehends and responds to books and other texts. (a) Interacts during read-alouds and book conversations,


(b) Uses emergent reading skills, (c) Retells stories. Procedures that Support 21st Century Skills: The students collaborate to work together to problem solve and critically think about the story in order to re-tell the story by sequencing the events. The use of peer models in grouping the students, and the use of questioning and discussion foster thinking and ideas. Performance Objective: The students will participate in the read-aloud by acting out the sequence of events using gestures and props, participate during the book discussion, and then they will re-tell the story by sequencing photo-copied pictures of the illustrations in the story in order of “First, Last,” and/or “First, Next, Last,” and/ or “First, Next, Then, Last.”

Activity: o



Read the story, while acting out and singing along, “This is the way we wash our clothes, wash our clothes…” (use props) Re-read the story, and sequence each step using graphic organizers: •




Picture Scramble! Unscramble the pictures to put them in order on the graphic organizer with a partner.


Implications for Drake: o o


Drake was able to practice his social skills with his partner. Drake thought out loud, “This go here and this go like that,” as he worked with his partner to put them in order. Drake showed his partner how it went in order, by using the props and acting each step out.

Writing and Collaboration/Communication

“Going Shopping” Book: “Shoe-la-la!” by Karen Beaumont


Price Tag

Tells us how much Where we buy our something costs. clothes.



Give money to the cashier to buy something.

What we use to buy things.

Creative Curriculum GOLD Standards: Social/Emotional: #3. Participates cooperatively and constructively in group situations. (a)

Balances needs and rights of self and others.


Cognitive: #14. Uses symbols and images to represent something not present. (b)

Engages in sociodramatic play.

Literacy: #19. Demonstrates emergent writing skills. (b) Writes to convey meaning. Performance Objective: The students will write a shopping list and practice “going shopping” (i.e. select items to purchase, look at the price tag to see how much it costs, pay with toy money, put their purchased items into a shopping bag). The students will work together to create their shopping lists, and to take on the different roles during the dramatic play. Procedures that Support 21st Century Skills: The students collaborate and communicate their ideas about shopping and how to write a shopping list. The students write their own shopping list, while discussing their ideas, then practice their social skills in the Dramatic Play center by pretending to go shopping, again using collaboration and communication to look for their items on the list, then take on different roles of cashier, shopper, etc. to further their understanding through their play.

Activity: o

Read the story, while modeling (and thinking out loud) how to write a shopping list.


Re-read the story, and practice writing a shopping list with small groups.


Pretend to go shopping!


Leave pencils and extra shopping lists in the Dramatic Play “Store” for the students to continue to incorporate writing and collaboration through-out the study.


Implications for Drake: o

Drake enjoyed writing his list, and asked his friend, “What you writing?”He helped his peers sound out the letters for their lists.


He enjoyed the role play in pretending to go shopping. He stepped in to show his peers how to count out the toy money as they paid.


By leaving the props and extra shopping lists in the Dramatic Play center, Drake continued to role play through-out the clothing study, writing and collaborating with his peers in his play.

Digital Literacy and Creativity

“Life Cycle of a Butterfly” Book: “A Butterfly is Patient” by Dianna Hutts Aston




Like a worm, but with a bunch of legs. Turns into a butterfly.

The blanket that the caterpillar makes to go to sleep before turning into a butterfly.

An insect that starts as a caterpillar then makes a cocoon and turns into a butterfly.

Creative Curriculum GOLD Standards:


Literacy: #18. Comprehends and responds to books and other texts. c). Retells stories. Cognitive: #14. Uses symbols and images to represent something not present. a). Thinks symbolically, b). Engages in sociodramatic play. Science: #19. Demonstrates the knowledge of the characteristics of living things. Performance Objective: The students use the literacy strategy “sequencing” to re-tell the life cycle of a butterfly from the story “A Butterfly is Patient” demonstrated by using the words, “First, Next, Then, Last.” The students will use the literacy strategy “visual imagery” to make concrete images by using props to act out the life cycle of a butterfly. The students will use the iPad application “Story Creator, to create a class book in small groups, using the video recorder to record each other acting out each stage of the life cycle of a butterfly, and the audio recorder to record their re-telling of each stage. Procedures that Support 21st Century Skills: The students collaborate and communicate as they use the iPod application “Story Creator” to re-tell (sequence) the different stages of the life cycle of a butterfly. They use props to act out each stage and are able to revisit their learning by watching the video and listen to the audio to make concrete visual images to support their learning and comprehension. The students are able to use their creativity to make a class book, by using 21st century technology with the use of the iPod application “Story Creator.”

Activity: o

Read the story, and act out each stage of the life cycle of a butterfly, using blankets/scarves as props.




Use the iPad application “Story Creator” to make class books in small groups, using video and audio recordings for each page as the students act out each stage. Students will continue to look back at their learning, practicing visual imagery by watching and listening to the recordings in their books.

Implications for Drake: o

Drake is a model in showing his peers how to use the computer and iPad. Being a leader and showing his peers how to use the iPad, boosts Drake’s confidence with his peers.


Drake was able to use the iPad application to help make his book, while using creativity to act out each stage in the life cycle of a butterfly.


He practiced being patient and taking turns.

My 21st Century Skills Reflection:

In looking back at the semester, I have learned a lot about my teaching style and my student, Drake. I can see I already incorporate many of the 21st century skills into my teaching, unknowingly. Now that I can see how I already incorporate some of these skills and know more about these skills, I can be more thoughtful of how I incorporate them into my teaching, and make sure to include these skills daily in my lessons.

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After presenting my work to my Special Education Supervisor, Amber Wicherski, she was able to pick up on some of the instructional strategies I was using, and how they relate to current research. We discussed how important it is to make learning fun and play-based, so the students are motivated and engaged in the lessons. We discussed you can motivate your students with either the topic of the lesson, or by the mode in how you teach the lesson. For example, we made the connection with the butterfly lesson, of how it incorporated both a motivating topic and motivating mode. The lesson was motivational because my students are interested in learning about butterflies, and to add the use of the iPad into the lesson was a huge motivator to get my students fully engaged. We also discussed how many teachers, even early childhood teachers, still use worksheets to teach writing lessons. Amber was excited to see how I incorporated writing naturally in a play-based way for my students to engage in writing activities as they played in the Dramatic Play center, writing out shopping lists as they pretended to go shopping. I can see with Drake, how important it is to pre-teach appropriate social skills before lessons, and incorporate these social skills into my lessons for him to practice daily. Furthermore, by incorporating opportunities for Drake to be a leader and peer model, really boosts his confidence and esteem with his peers, rather than always putting him with a peer model. Drake enjoys thinking critically about read alouds, and just needs someone to listen to his ideas and connections. By allowing him time to draw after a read-aloud, then discussing his drawing with him, I can learn so much about his thought process and how he relates to the story and makes connections to previous learning or his background. Looking back and reading over my research articles, I made notes of important ideas and/or strategies I will take with me into my classroom. Through-out all of my graduate classes, I have made lists similar to the list below, to use as a guide in setting up my classroom and writing my lessons, so I don’t forget any new learning or leave anything important out. I will take the following list with me over the summer, to make new changes to the way I set up my classroom and write my lessons for following school year. In another one of my classes, I learned I can use the public library to access current research articles, as well, so I can always stay current on my teaching strategies. The following is a list of important ideas and teaching strategies for 21st Century Skills: o

Play-based learning is the most appropriate way to teach young learners.


Leave books, props, vocabulary cards, computers/iPads, etc. accessible during center time, for students to further their learning or remember previous learning activities.

11 | P a g e o

Use students’ drawings to enhance read-alouds. Through discussion of their drawings, you will see how the student relates to the story, and what they took away from the story.


Take time to look at the illustrations in picture books! Discuss the illustrations, using critical thinking strategies to analyze the illustrations.


So much of early childhood learning happens at home, so GET FAMILIES INVOLVED AT SCHOOL! Invite families to the classroom, or send home “Book backpacks” so the families can extend the learning in the classroom at home.


Use literature to teach social skills so the students can relate, and see different points of view in the illustrations.


Use acting out, artifacts, discussion, drawing, and playing in daily lessons to enhance comprehension and critical thinking.


Provide picture books in the classroom that represent your students’ backgrounds and cultures.


Start teaching digital literacy at a young age, and take the time to teach how to use these new technologies.


Use technology to support and enhance your lessons.

References: Holland, T. (2010). Wash and dry. [Web log message]. (2011, 10 05). Retrieved from

12 | P a g e Beaumont, K. (2011). Shoe-la-la!. Roser, N. (2012). Looking, thinking, talking, reading, writing, playing‌images. Language Arts, 89(6), 405-414. Retrieved from Hutts Aston, D. (2011). A butterfly is patient. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.

Content area reading strategies. In (1997-2014). Journey North Teacher's Manual. Retrieved from

Innovative Mobile Apps. (2013). Story Creator (Version 4.0) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from Soundy, C. S. (2012). Searching for deeper meaning in children's drawings. Childhood Education, 88(1), 45-51. Retrieved from Lohfink, G. (2013). Promoting self-questioning through picture book illustrations. Reading Teacher, 66(4), 295-299. Retrieved from Milagros-Santos, R., Fettig, A., & Shaffer, L. (2012). Helping families connect early literacy with social-emotional development. Young Children, Retrieved from families connect literacy & soc-emot.pdf Roser, N. (2012). Looking, thinking, talking, reading, writing, playing...images.

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Language Arts, 89(6), 405-414. Retrieved from Forzani, E., & Leu, D. (2012). New literacies for new learners: The need for digital technologies in primary classrooms. The Educational Forum, 76(4), 421-424. doi: 10.1080/00131725.2012.708623 Howard, J., Miles, G., & Rees-Davies, L. (2012). Computer use within a playbased early years curriculum. International Journal of Early Years Education, 20(2), 175-189.

Final presentation  

21st Century Skills

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