REFLECTIONS on School Year 2015-2016
Creating an environment of respect and rapport for me as a co-teacher is to bring value to the processes of teacher of record as it impacts our students. Principles of Universal Design for Learning (multiple means of representation, engagement, and action/expression) aligned with the needs of the student ground my suggestions for new ways to teach the class content by using varied approaches to delivery. My suggestion to frame notetaking in graphic organizers just to students who struggle with written expression and reading comprehension is now being used to support all students in Mr. Brandonâ€™s GOVT/ECON classes.
I collaborate with my co-teachers to leverage district technology resources to establish a commonly utilized point of school to home communication- PowerSchool.
I encourage use of other available devices like our personal smartphones to gather and analyze data to inform curricular pace & sequence to determine patterns of student task avoidance behavior. I then design possible accommodations to reduce anxiety and negative overt conduct and communicate my suggestions to all the teachers who support my caseload students. I plan to do greater existing district technology integration to maximum school/departmental/district budgets.
I attempt to establish a culture for learning through building confidence. Accommodation allows students to gain experience with upsetting tasks like verbal presentations, tests/quizzes, homework. I assist anxious students during oral presentation by holding their visual aid, forwarding slides, or cueing them to include key points they may have omited. Sometimes it is just the small things that help a student soar! Case in point as evidenced by a follow-up email to my caseload student who is also in my co-taught ECON class.
Below is an example of my encouragement to students to opt for an alternative approproach to the typical oral presentation to overcome the anxiety presenting before the class. I have yet to offer a student example of the option actualizedâ€Ś
The CoTaught Class Support Blog is an example of accommodation for IEP students primarily with reading, written expression, working memory, and cognitive processing deficits that impact notetaking and in-class work completion where studentsâ€™ notes are allowed for quizzes. The site features completed teacher notes for Government and Economics classes where a weekly open-notes pop-quiz is the standard. Links to supporting resources aligned with course tasks are also included.
The OneNote screenshot demonstrates a transfer of new knowledge in practice after district provided 365Office training that my English co-teacher and I both attended. This student refuses to complete work in class for us, but will complete work at home. This OneNote Notebook is only accessible to the student intended. The page included embedded teacher feedback and further instructions via written text, audio and video functionality.
Using my personal smartphone and the classroom computer to TV monitor, I check for understanding using Plickersâ€”shown above. I used the instant feedback data to engage students in information they could use in inform themselves what they individually needed to study to prepare for a test that was given the next day in English 11.
I have noticed more instances of deeper engagement to task, amazing demonstrations of higher order thinking, creativity and comfort in communicating with peers during group work--particularly from some of our students who had resisted these approaches earlier in the year. These positive results are what I and my co-teachers desire from our efforts of project-based and collaborative learning situations. My goal in the coming school year is to encourage implementation of these powerful research-based approaches to instruction as the more typical delivery method instead of being the add-on. This being said acknowledges that we are not engaging in PURE project-based learning as a method. We still struggle with how to put such a system in practice, but I’m encouraged that my co-teachers and I will accomplish the idea by starting small. That is, I’d like to see us integrate more of our required daily work within a meaningful context of the curriculum we are required to teach. The purpose would be for our students to develop a greater sense of how their skills from other subjects-areas CONNECT within the system of our class content. We’ll continue student-centered approaches considering their varied personal experiences, communities of interest, and broader world events. My hope is that through this type of everyday instruction we will empower students with more information or data about themselves—their abilities, their choices—to make more informed decisions about postsecondary training for college or the workplace.