Monday, 21 April 2014

Sometimes You Have to Jump In and Show the Work!

Last week, my reading specialist colleague and I made our way to the classroom to model a lesson for the teacher to show her just how easy it is to do.  The focus for our lesson was Lesson #1 from Meville to Weville that focused on the word, "Me." We used the game listed in the lesson that included a spinner.  We used an electronic spinner (borrowed from our speech path - but I sure wish I could find one like it!) and gave each student a numbered page.  When the spinner landed on their number, we encouraged them to say, "that's me!" to hit the lesson home around the word me.  The students loved it!  It was such a simple lesson that the staff was surprised that was all it took.  We explained how this lesson could be used for an entire week so students could really grasp the concept of "me."  It was so simple, yet effective.  I can only hope now that they will take the lead and move on to the next simple lesson so we can be assured even students with significant disabilities are getting a literacy lesson as outlined in the program of studies.  Maybe all it will take is the opportunity to see how the lesson is done.  Perhaps it was necessary for my colleague and I to jump in and show "how it is done!" I will report back next week after our next visit!  Here's hoping!

Our First Book Talk

We had a great discussion for our first book talk using Jennifer Katz' book: Teaching to Diversity.  We started by discussing the first chapter and agreed the author was passionate about inclusion. We appreciated her program, Respecting Diversity.  Then our conversation took a turn to a dicussion about where teachers are at currently.  Most participants felt teachers do their best to teach to multiple strengths although often more could be done in this area for students with more severe special needs.  Folks felt teachers were inclusive when it comes to learning disabilities, teachers were growing in their abilities to differentiate for these students.  However, there still seems to be difficulties for teachers in including students with more severe disabilities.

I can appreciate the discussion from our group around the perception that the parts of Katz' program are not particularly new but the combination of the blocks contribute to a robust classroom where diversity is appreciated.  I remember running class meetings as a new teacher to help my students grow in their problem solving skills in an authentic situation.  I remember doing interest inventories and looking at multiple intelligences.  I remember asking students to write me a letter explaining how they learned best so I could incorporate their learning styles in my classroom.  I am excited that there is a "program" to follow that new teachers could embrace that incorporates tried and true methods in their classroom.  Apparently, Katz has a new book out called: Resource Teachers:A Changing Role in the Three Block Model of Universal Design for Learning.  In this book, she discusses how resource room teachers can partner up to create inclusive classrooms.  Maybe our next book study??

In the spirit of UDL, I will offer this platform for staff to take part in our study as well as a face to face opportunity.  We enjoyed good discussion and fantastic food at Uncle Ed's Ukrainian Foods.
Anyway, we are reading chapter 4 and 5 for next month.  I will post the questions closer to the date. Happy Reading!