Excursion 4

    I currently work at Blythedale Children’s Hospital which is a Special Act public school. The school strives to promote the most appropriate learning environment for all the individual students who attend. The school serves disabled students who require a more personal, individualized course curriculum while enduring medical treatment. Many of the children and young adults who are patients of the hospitals have varying needs. However, a large majority of the population of patients have suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). As an intern, I work with the English teacher who teaches English Language Arts to grades 7-12. All students present in the classroom have an IEP due to their disability. The class is taught by a single special education teacher and a classroom aid is present to assist students as needed. Within the specific classroom, there are many students who display varying levels of cognitive English Language Arts comprehension. Per their varying disabilities, the students require heavily differentiated lessons and modified materials in order to make learning possible for all the students.  

    As the English teacher, we place a large emphasis on reading comprehension and writing in our classroom as both are areas which students display the most difficulty. I assisted my mentor teacher in planning and implementing a writing unit with a sharp focus on writing with sensory details. This lesson was taught to the 7th and 8th grade classes. In the 7th grade class there are two students who are considered ‘sensory learners’. These two student have low cognitive functioning as well as significant physical impairments which limit their ability to complete work independently. In addition, these two students are completely nonverbal. After reading through some examples of sensory details within writing and modeling this process for the students, they were prompted to work independently to write their own stories. Some students were able to create the writing piece independently while others required the use of a graphic organizer, technology (iPad/Laptop), and a scribe. However, the sensory learners required additional support. My mentor teacher provided manipulatives for these two students which appealed to their senses such as fresh grass to feel and smell, bubble wrap to feel and hear, and a ‘Yes’ button to hear. After appealing to their senses, my mentor teacher and I recorded ourselves talking about this experience and put it on a power point presentation which included visuals and sound. We linked the power point presentation to a ‘switch’ which is a large button which the sensory students could press and actually control the power point slides. While all the students presented their work (read it a loud to the class), the sensory learners were able to navigate through the power point presentation (with some assistance) and present their work along with their peers.  

    Although this method of inclusion was more work for the teacher, it was effective as it included all the students present within the classroom. We were able to modify the lesson to be more appropriate for the skill level of these two sensory learners and allowed them to fully participate. Despite not every student doing traditional writing (pen to paper) every students demonstrated their understanding of the concept of sensory writing through creating a story and presenting their work which they created on their own.

ED 524 Spring 2020

ED 524 Spring 2020

This is the online home for ED 524 Spring 2020.

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