Shrum and Glisan (2016) distinguish two groups of learners who have special needs: (1) learners with special physical needs, and (2) learners with special learning needs, such as learners with learning disabilities, at-risk learners, gifted learners, and heritage or home background learners.

Based on the target group of learners for whom you were assigned to design and present an activity, think reflectively about the performance of your peer coach and provide her/him with some positive feedback as well as recommendations, which may help her/him refine her/his teaching practice. Your contribution should be approximately 350-400 words long.

Bear in mind that, in order to earn full credit for this blog, your reflection must have been posted by Tuesday, November 17, 11:59pm. 

 

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For this presentation we were challenged with creating a presentation that would suit a specific ability for students in a classroom. When observing classrooms, it may be a little challenging to focus on every peculiar aspect of special education especially when there isn’t enough knowledge to base our thoughts on. Learning about learners who have special learning needs has been one of the most important aspects of the course. From then on, entering a classroom I have personally become more aware. There are two groups of learners who have and require special needs. The first group are leaners with physical needs which include students who may use wheelchairs, walkers and even crutches. The second group are learners with special learning needs. My colleague James and I were assigned to create a presentation that would portray how a class would be taught by accommodating learners with Disabilities. A disability is a mental or physical impairment that limits a major life activity —for example, caring for oneself, performing a manual task, hearing, walking, speaking, thinking, and so forth (Shrum and Glisan, 2010). James did a great job when conducting the class because he made sure that the students were all following along and on the same page. Students with learning disabilities can easily become distracted the same way that they can become enthusiastic about a topic as well. A learning disorder interferes with a student’s ability to store, process, or produce information (Shrum and Glisan, 2010). Since students with learning disabilities can have difficulty with storing or processing information, James distributed activities that were straightforward. Before the activities, the students had to read a short paragraph and write and underline a few key things that they found important and interesting. One thing that I really liked that James did was that he asked the class what they remembered from the short paragraph about Jose y su Familia which they had previously read. This allowed them to think back to the paragraph and based on what they retained they would need to complete a few activities. Due to a short amount of time, participation was minimal but in the future I would like to see James add more visuals to the presentation in order to engage the students. It is important to grasp the student’s attention entirely and pay close attention to their needs. Overall, James did a great job presenting a topic that accommodated students with learning disabilities. =)

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Janeth’s teaching slide was based to accommodate average and Non-gifted learners with special needs. According to Shrum and Glisan (2016), average students with special need are able to perform at expected levels, but they may actually perform at a lower level because of emotional, motivational, cultural or social difficulties. In my opinion, Janeth’s practice activity was great because it was able to get students engaged and involved in class as well as to work with the rest of the students. Adding a little bit of competition into the classroom could rise the level of enthusiasm for the class in the students, and that is what Janeth did with her Family Feud type activity. Making students working together to achieve a single goal, which in this case was to beat the other team by giving the right answer as a group, could definitely help them to overcome those social difficulties that some students might have when is time to working with a partner or in groups. Another thing that caught my attention was the price she offered to the students, she told the class that the winning team won’t have to do the homework, which I believe is a good price. At the end of the activity, she told the losing team that they won’t have to the homework either, this is where I disagree because is something that could go wrong in many ways. One way in which this could go wrong is if she decided to do a similar activity next time, the students would not give their best because they know that even if they lose, they will win the price anyway. I like the fact that she explained the instructions step by step a couple of time, and she even had a practice round before they began with the real activity; these type of students need to listen the instructions step by step (Shrum and Glisan, 2016). Something that she could do to make sure her students understood her instructions is asking them to repeat back to her what she asked them to do. (347)   

I thought that overall Joseph did a good job at preparing a lesson for students with special learning needs and disabilities, which in this case was those students with hearing impairment. As we have already seen in the readings by Shrum and Glisan, it is important to keep in mind and recommended to provide our those students with as many visual aids as possible, which can be through photos, videos, movies, etc. I believe Joe was aiming himself in the right direction with the teaching slice by providing the students with photos that matched with what he was describing and talking about. Joseph has a deep but loud and clear voice, so I feel this works well to his advantage, and also to the students advantage of acquiring the language. The reading also states that those learners may need extra time to complete tasks, activities, exams, etc. I think it's really important to follow these rules, otherwise your students who have those special learning needs may become lost or have difficulty following you as your lesson proceeds. In order to prevent this, I think that those learners at times should receive special attention, as a an assessment for the teacher to be sure that all of his/her students are on the same track. While it understood that time was definitely an issue and prevented our performance to being at its best ability, with the proper time there are things that Joseph could have done in his lesson (as well as I) had we been provided with a more realistic time frame. As we also have read in the readings, students with special learning needs or disabilities may often have trouble reading, because of their lack of being able to speak and hear the pronunciation of words correctly. For this reason, I feel that the writing portion of the lesson may have been a bit overwhelming for those students with those needs. A better way to present this activity could have been to put one slide with one description and all of the pictures on every slide. That way, each description is nice and big, focused and clear. More time spent on each description would help those struggling students and put less pressure on the learning process for them. Also, by using hand gestures and motions while you are speaking and communicating with your students, it will make what you are saying a little bit more obvious or easier to figure out for the students. Other then the points that I have mentioned, Joseph did a wonderful job.

For this in-class teaching slice my peer coach (Eulalia) and I planned a lesson that was aimed for the target group of learners assigned and which was "the gifted students."  Children who give evidence of high performance capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, leadership capacity, or specific academic fields, and who require services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop such capabilities (Shrum & Glisan, 2016). I have to mention that we focused the presentation mostly on the target group in other words, culture (one of the 5 Cs of the American council of Teaching Foreign Language (ACTFL) ) was not applied to the extent that it should be somehow always present when teaching the Target Language (TL). We  decided to teach Los pronombres de sujeto  y el verbo ser (subject  pronouns and the verb to be) because from this kind of lecture we could of create many different activities for the gifted students. We started off with the presentation of the lecture where we taught what are the pronouns in the TL and also taught how to conjugate the verb ser (to be) in the context of origin in other words nationality. After everything was taught and explained to the students (our colleagues), we moved on to the activities in which my peer coach and I demonstrated that our activities (created by our own) were developed specially for the target group assigned. My activity, was created with the intention to keep those students that have the capability of finishing the class work in a short time of period, working in relation to the aim. In others words, I created a sheet with multiple activities and assigned the students to do the first part and if there were gifted students in the class, then they would off move on to the next part or activity. Eulalia's activity was a short activity, fill in the blank, but if there was a gifted student in the class, then she would tell the student that is already done with the activity to go help a classmate that needs help, and the reason she decided to do this is because she didn't want the gifted students to get on their phones or do something that has nothing to do with the TL. She did a good job because her activity ended up the way she wanted it. 

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Katherine did a fantastic job in her teaching slice. When she presented the teaching slice that she had generated before presenting it to the class, I noticed immediately the dedication to learners who have special needs. The lesson was clearly geared towards students with these needs, and the lesson fascinated the needs of students who having a hearing impairment. One thing that Katherine does a fantastic job in is preparing the lesson. When doing her lesson plan, she clearly takes into account learning and differentiated instruction. People with hearing disabilities will rely more or can be assisted with the use of visual stimulation to help their learning of the target language (Shrum & Glisan, 2016). Katherine's lesson incorporated many visuals, but she made sure that even word that was spoken in the target language was facilitated with visuals. This is very important to assist those with hearing impairments. At the same time, Katherine was able to stay 99% in the target language, which in turn not only creates a better learning environment for foreign language learners, but it shows that she is taking into account that the classroom is filled with learners other than those with learning disabilities.  It is important to keep in mind and recommended to provide our those students with as many visual aids as possible, which can be through photos, videos, movies, etc (Shrum & Glisan, 2016). With Differentiated Instruction, it is important to take into account all different types of learning styles that is found within the classroom. A teacher may be faced with learners who have a visual, audio, or learning disability. It is important for teachers, when faced with these disabilities in the classroom, to adjust and plan their lesson accordingly. Katherine also did a better job at clarifying and securing understanding in the classroom. She used cognates, synonyms, and even hand gestures when giving clarification, and she stayed far away from translating her instructions. If Katherine were to work on one thing, it would definitely be to pace herself. When Katherine gets nervous or when she doesn't get an understanding from the classroom, she does a great job clarifying however she does so in a rushed manner. This is definitely an area of opportunity that Katherine can work on. I have said it many times, but Katherine is very gifted and it is truly on honor working with her! Ti voglio bene!!! - Quattrocento

Joe, you are awesome. <3

 

The performance that Kimberly and I presented in class was about how to teach gifted learners. My classmate is a young and talented student who had developed most of the activity for our presentation. She had the idea to develop an activity for the gifted learners according to their wide-range of capabilities. By teaching the “ Pronombres de sujeto”, she supported me by giving me an example of her work for students to do.

My partner said why do we used the “pronombres de sujeto in Spanish”. She said we used the “Pronombres del sujeto” to replace a person or thing who performed the verb action. She also said to have an exercise for the whole class and to choose the gifted students who exceeded their classmates to help. For example, this exercise was done in order to meet gifted students needs by assessing the different instructions with creative literary work as well as the critical thinking. Therefore, giving an individual activity to students to read and to have gifted students give similar examples from their own experiences. After sharing out, gifted students were supposed to help their peers in need to finish their work.

The teaching methods we have for our presentation was, providing gifted students with real task work and to observe and conduct the task. Subsequently, gifted students were able to gain cognitive grow and self-fulfillment through development and expression. This students are considered to “help into solve the problems of contemporary civilization by becoming producers of knowledge and creative works rather than mere consumers of existing information”(Renzulli, 1999).

By doing this type of exercise, we expected gifted students to have the opportunity to increase and enrich their intellectual knowledge. Our professor also said, not tell to our classmates, what type of students we were teaching. As a result, the classroom job was to identify the category of assessment we had given. By interacting socially and using their critical thinking to help other student. Gifted students help students in need to increase their self-steam and develop their intellectual knowledge.

Performing this activity with my classmate was a lesson of learning. She assisted me by giving an example of her work which taught me how to develop a lesson and to be confident with myself. She always said not to worry that much, to stay calm and would be fine. (392)

For this teaching slice, Sindy and I were challenged with presenting a lesson in which we had to accommodate students with special physical needs (visually impaired). When teaching a lesson that tries to accommodate students with special physical needs it can be a bit difficult but I thought that Sindy really did a great job on her part accommodating these students with special needs. According to Shrum and Glisan (2016), Teachers can capitalize on oral skills and the use of discussion, especially since students’ primary goal may be to develop interpersonal speaking abilities. Sindy really did a great job at having the students repeat after her when she was going over the vocabulary. The students’ primary goal was to develop more their oral skills since they were visually impaired but also she had a lot of visuals for those who were not visually impaired. Which was great for all students because her lesson did not just revolve around those with a disability but for those who were not visually impaired as well. In that aspect she also excelled very well in my opinion. Something else that really caught my attention from Sindy’s part of the practice presentation was, that she used a lot of audio. Visually impaired students need a lot of audio in order to comprehend what the lesson is about and need to develop interpersonal speaking abilities (Shrum and Glisan, 2016). My partner Sindy really covered those important aspects. It was also great to see how my partner incorporated the sounds for all the instruments. This would enable the visually impaired students to distinguish the types of instruments being played. That was very creative on her part and I can say that I benefitted a lot from her creativity. There could be one or two things that I can suggest for Sindy. One suggestion, even though she did a good job, can be to have the students repeat to her what she asking of them. Maybe some of these visually impaired students might be afraid and that can cause them to lose focus during the lesson. Maybe some of these students were not really listening and maybe asking them to repeat to her what she asked of them would be a great idea for the future. Other than that she pretty much covered the important aspects of her part of the lesson.

 

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My peer-coach (i.e., Sarai Herreros) and I were assigned a classroom that had some cases of students with learning disabilities, which relates to the second group of learners stated by Shrum and Glisan (2016). When their needs are not addressed appropriately, this type of students is characterized by having difficulties to retain information and showing signs of lack of interest. In order for these needs to be accommodated, Sarai started the lesson by presenting an example of her doing an activity in the winter season, which included visuals for these students to better grasp the concept she was describing. She then followed this example by asking the students to describe the activities they liked to do during this season. This activity that Sarai came up with was quite unique because it allowed her to take control of the student’s attention by having them talk about an interest of their own. This also elicits the students’ mind to have them rely on their prior knowledge, in order to discuss their activity. This goes hand in hand with the retention of memory, if students are reminded of what they have learnt, it facilitates that need more adequately. Furthermore, what caught my attention as she was preparing her lesson for this class, was that she wanted to incorporate art and crafts for the students. I found this odd and confusing onto why she would like to do this. She later explained that after reading the paragraph I came up with, she would want them to do a hands-on activity, which was  based on what the paragraphed talked about. That is to say, when the paragraph talked about snow, not only would the hand gestures allow students to comprehend the concept of what snow is, but having them craft a snowflake would also help it sink in all the way. A personal recommendation towards art and crafts is to make sure it is age appropriate, i.e., a high school student may not find it helpful to the degree that s/he may take it as an insult, since, by doing so, one seems to be downgrading to her/his level. Thus, one has to be careful with what one does, because everyone has a different interpretation of things. Likewise, I would not to spend much time on this in class, because it may take time away from what they are expected to learn. Another downfall would be having trouble to get the students focused on the lesson again. I would probably have this assigned as a follow-up activity, in order to create something that was spoken in class, such as snowflake a drawing of Three Kings, etc.

 

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            My partner Joel and I were assigned to create two activities for a group of students who had the physical disability of being visually impaired. Students with visual impairments tend to need the use of Braille, auditory texts as well as other types of assistive technology such as oral examinations, reading services, preferred seating or space for a guide dog that include other type of accommodations. (Shrum & Glisan, 2016). Our lesson was based on the different types of instruments that there are and the sounds they make. For this lesson my partner and I tried to combine auditory texts as well as hands on activities to target the learning disability we were assigned. We didn’t only include auditory texts but, also included pictures for the students without the physical disabilities. My activity used auditory texts and it was based mostly on students using their listening skills. My peer coach’s activity was based on student’s being hands on with the activity they were assigned. I think my peer coach, Joel, did an amazing job when presenting his activity to the classroom. His activity allowed all students to be able to touch and feel the different type of instruments that there were. Which really helps the students who are visually impaired. I believe his activity was a good activity which at the same time can easily be seen as learning game for students which can lead to a student’s interest. Student’s interest then leads to motivation which can lead to great results in the second language classrooms. One small suggestion that I would make to Joel is that next time he should try to bring more authentic instruments that are touchable or even instruments that are made out of plastic. This would be a good use of Realia in his activity and at the same time these students who are visually impaired would feel more comfortable with the task they are being asked to complete. Besides students just touching and feeling paper they will be even more hands on and they would get a better feeling of what they are touching. Other than that small suggestion I believe my peer coach Joel did an amazing job with his activity.

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My colleague Jose planed an activity that made easier to learn the body parts for average and Non-gifted learners that have special needs. Shrum and Glisan write “average students with special need are able to perform at expected levels, but they may actually perform at a lower level because of emotional, motivational, cultural or social difficulties” to show what aspects we as a teacher need to focus when we plan our lesson for this students. I believe that over all Jose’s activity was able to help the students learn the body parts. Jose reached his goal by getting students on task immediately after his presentation and by giving specific instructions visually and orally (Shrum and Glisan). Students were able to move from the presentation to the activity with no difficulty. The students were motivated during the activity because the students were able to use their body to learn the body parts in TL. Also Jose diminish the emotional frustration by helping them step by step learn the body parts and also help them with the pronunciation to help them get confidence. Jose also help this students learn by monitoring students’ progress constantly. During the activity he was walking around to help and make sure the student knew what they were doing. Although the lesson was great I think the activity can improve by requiring some physical movement in partners during the activity (Shrum and Glisan 2016). For example, get the students to work in partners during the activity so they get motivated more and get work in their social difficulties. Working in partners will help the students learn to work with others and the same time that they learn. Other way can be providing choices of activities and higher level thinking activities like  using the vocabulary words in sentence instead of fill in the blank (Shrum and Glisan 2016).The last thing Jose can do in his lesson is that he asks the students to repeat the instructions and makes sure the students understand the activity. As always it was a pleasure working with Jose because I always learn something new from him that helps me be a better teacher.

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