Sunday, December 13, 2009

Homework for 12-16

"Building Blocks"
That is truly what is needed in reading. Not everything comes easily to all students, that is so important to remember when teachin? And if they did not get the first part why would you think they would get steps 2, 3, and 4? That is unfair. I like the outline to different ways to teach reading, phonics/whole language/balanced. I think it makes sense to used a balanaced method. Not everyone learns the same, I know for me phonics was always VERY difficult, to this day I still can not spell well. Nothing pissed me off more than when the teacher said "sound it out". Or "look it up in the dictionary to spell it". I was to sound out a word that I was CLUELESS on spelling then look it up in the dictionary? I will say right now, that NEVER worked for me. And it made me so mad that I never wanted to learn how to spell. I still don't. Anyhow, balanced methods make the most sense. Use pieces of both methods to teach the other all concept. Adapt things to meet the students' needs. That is why we are in special education...right? We are here for all learners! Lets do it!

Effective reading programs are important. I liked the guidelines for this; knowing the order to learning, udnerstand that students need to know relationships of letters/words/sounds, udnerstand the amount of practice needed, teaching based on need, giving sutdents opportunites, and using highly trained teaches. This makes sense.

I watched all four. They were interesting and I truly enjoy hearing different sides to things. Also it is easier for me to listen to a video and take notes than to read a ton of articles and try to stay focused. I enjoyed hearing Ben talk about his struggles and overcoming them to write a book! GO BEN! (but I also think it is important that he pointed out how he WANTED to learn, that also needs to be there, so lets get these kids EXCITED to learn!) I also thought it is awesome how in the one video they said they scan the brain and show it to the child! What a great way to help the child udnerstand their body! And Jonathan's mom made a lot of sense when she said he hated school and she thought it was due to is frustration. Who wants to go to a place where they are in a cloud or confused all the time. I am glad interventions worked for him and he likes school now.

Article 4 and 5

I found article 5 difficult to read, maybe becuase I do not have a printer, so I tried to read it all on the computer, hard to follow. I would like to read it again once I can print it Monday at work. I think it will flow better and make more sense.

Issues surrounding topic: There is an overrepresentation of African Americans in the category of MMR. The is also an overrespresentation of ESL students in the catgory of MMR. It appears that there have been too many people quick to label a student with a disability just because they struggle with the language or are poor. Though income status does not tie in to cultural or ethinicity either.

How legislation has attempted to fix the problem: It has been required that tests be done in the students primary langauge (isnt this a given?). Another option has be required that the tester uses different types of materials. One ruling banned IQ testing on African Americans, that seems extreme to me. It is also required that the levels of representation be monitored every two years. And there have been Amendments to IDEA that try to limit guidelines to labeling in order to account for how overrepresentation may have occured.

The problem as I see it is that people are too quick to throw a label on a kid. If they student does not speak fluent English and you give him a test that is ALL English you are setting him up to fail. If a student has never been inside a post office and you are asking him to describe how to mail a letter at a post office chances are he is going to get things wrong. I think the problem lies in how we are testing and the way we interrupt our information. I think that before testing any student you should get all the facts and test accordingly. Background needs to be taken into consideration before making any judgements.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Article 3

This article was interesting. I was a little confused. What are they actually doing with the fMRI? Are they jsut scanning the brain? How does that help? Maybe I do not understand how that actually machine works? If it can help students learn to read though it is great! Is this something that would be available to all students? Even in lower income areas?

How technology changes our views: As we learn more, understand more, our eyes are continuelly opened. There are many things we think happened for one reason, then find out they happen for another reason. This is important, especially when the "problems" are not the students fault, as many people sadly like to think. Also as we learn more we are able to change the way we teach to be geared more towards the disablity. It is no good if you are teaching in a way that does not help.

Implications for teaching and legislation: Teachers continuely adapt their teaching. This is due to new information coming out. That is why it is important to keep informed. For example if you know they students reading difficulties are environmental, not being exposed to reading, then you will teach in a way that helps them be exposed to a wide variety of things. If you know that it is a difficulty of the brain you would adapt accordingly. I am not sure exactly how, though I would hope a teach would not STOP exposing a student to reading (I would not). As far as legislation maybe the higher ups will stop consistently blaming poor progress on the teachers and realize that some disabilities are truly gentic or such and not always due to poor teaching.

Article 1 and 2

After reading these two articles I have to say this...It only makes sense that there may be a link between depression, or other emtional issues, and learning disabilities. I am not saying that EVERY student with one has to have the other, but when one is noticed the other could be looked for.

Social Implications: A student with a learning disability may be noticed by other students. This can lead to teasing, questions, pointing, and other horrible things that children/students do to each other. Not being "the same" is something that is not easily accepted by students. In younger grades it is not as bad, students may ask questions and such, but they are still figuring things out themselves. However once students begin to "figure it out" they also notice differences in themselves and others. I can understand how this may become frustrating for a student, trying to fit in. All this frustation could quickly lead to acting out, being labeled the "bad" kid, but in some cases this is cool so why not? Or on the flip side it could lead to a shut down, why not just hide inside yourself? If you do not fit into society as you see it, make your own. Edward was a student who acted out, mostly due to a learning difficulty with class. He was actually smart in a sense, he figured out it was easier to GET OUT of class by acting out then trying to learn. Not to bad of an idea? These are only my thoughts, this is why I can see a possible link between the two.

Mental Implications: Once you realize that you do not "fit in" or that somehting is different about you I can only guess what thoughts go through your head. Why me? Can I fix it? Will it ever go away? Then I would image you would try to hide it, fix it, make it go away. While in school being like everyone else is always such an important thing, sad but true. Again, with this mentality I can see a lead to other things; acting out, depression, shut down, etc. In the article they talked about Margaret, she was a lonely student who came to be such because of learning difficulties. When it is difficult to learn in may be difficult to communicate in a way others understand, leaving you without friends. It is sad but true.

Thinking back: I can not remember strategies used by my teachers in school. I do remember students being pulled out for special classes, and everyone always knew who they were. Several times they were the bad kids, the "cool" kids that you did not want to be friends with, but you sure did not want to make mad. I also remember they were the ones you did not want in your group during projects. Again, see the social links?

Refine my practices: I have ALWAYS believed in social interaction between ALL students. It is important to make it known that every student has strengths and that every student in importanat. I like the idea of taking time to talk with your students, this (in certain grades) may make them feel important, let them know their thoughts count. It would also give them a way to express their difficulties without bringing the whole class in on the "secret". Praising students is a MUST in any room. And the idea of using multisensory methods to teach is also a given, I think.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


During most of the excerises I felt very flustered. I do not want any student to feel like that! I think it is very important to understand how they are feeling in order to adapt all lessons according and be able to help them. It is interesting always to get the insight of the students.

math and writing

I was not able to do the first writing excersie, even after downloading the plug in, no one tell mike. The second one was VERY confusing. Is this how some children see directions? For the math activities I got the 3 one all right! That is my kind of math stuff though. As for the other activites, ha ha ha. I felt very confused and frustrated.

Attention and Reading

I did these two first. The read passage was impossible with all the different letters that did not make sense. Also the picture of the girl was interesting. I think the teacher has some part in making that difficult by consistently talking and saying things other than the directions. It was interesting to hear what the different students had to say about their struggles. I am glad I did not have these troubles going through school. Now, off to do the last two!