Kids who are WAY BELOW the rest of the class

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by WaterfallLady, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    Jul 29, 2011

    When you have a kid that is way below the rest of the class, and no aide, what are you supposed to do? I had one last year and I will again. She is a very sweet child who loves learning but she's working on skills about 4-5 years below her classmates. It's really difficult in science because her reading level is so low, and I can't just give her the materials to do an experiment. I'll have most of the same kids and know that they are very needy, so I can't devote a lot of extra time with her.

    Particularly for science, what do you recommend doing to earn course credit? She's not getting a regular diploma so I can teach her anything science related. I'm trying to focus on life skills stuff, and last year, she was able to work from a lower grade science book somewhat independently, and she could answer questions, but she wasn't getting it.
     
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  3. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Are you the only adult in your class? If she can read and answer questions, is there any reason why she can't be taught how to read and follow experiments? You could give her simple things like experimenting with different ways to melt ice, color wheel experiments (what color do you get if you mix yellow and blue playdough/paint...), making 3-D glasses, activities using magnets, etc...

    I have a student going into the 3rd grade. There are some 3 year old in the preschool class that know more than him...
     
  4. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    The main problem with experiements is that:
    I don't have enough materials and my budget is very limited.
    It's a very needy class and she needs a lot of supervision with things.
    She works really fast, and needs me to explain things. If I took 15 minutes to put something together, she'd finish it in two.
     
  5. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    The school (not you) should provide technology for her. A laptop with Kurtzweil would be helpful. You can scan the documents in and it will read it too her. She just needs training on how to use it.

    Can she just not read or does she struggle with listening comprehension too? If she is capable of listening at grade level and working at grade level (understanding and doing experiments), why isn't she being taught how to read? I would think that would still be part of her life-skill course to get her to be able to read basic instructions.
     
  6. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    She is being taught to read, but isn't picking it up.
    A Kurzewell wouldn't help because her auditory comprehension is extremely low.
     
  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Could you use pictures to show the steps of simple experiments or inquiries?
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Thanks for the clarification.

    I like MrsCs idea.
     
  9. teacher12345

    teacher12345 Cohort

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    Jul 31, 2011

    What about using picture resources? Check out the science and social studies resource links I posted, that is stickied at the top of the special education section. Also, this may be helpful, scroll down to where it says access middle school science and science (middle school acess science has 24 chapters with activities.)
    http://www.polk-fl.net/staff/resourc...boardmaker.htm

    Another idea I had, was what about using teachersk's match card system. Some science related activities would be things such as, measurement (teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, gallons, liters, inches, centimeters, meters etc.), Matching simple science words with the picture of the word on the card, to a picture/and word definition, also some lifeskills signs and words that relate to science, such as danger, poison, warning, goggles etc, and cooking/kitchen words, along with weather words, and health signs and words, another match card activity topic would be temperature.
    Could she sort cards into two or more categories?
    Such as living things and non living things, healthy and not healthy, safe and not safe, sorting between seasons, things you would do in one season and not in the other etc.
    Also, what about worksheets that require little reading, such as a worksheet that said something like circle the living things and put an x on the non-living things (with picture directions). Also, sorting pictures or real objects if possible of things that are recycable and things that are not, or into categories such as metal, glass, plastic, and paper.
     
  10. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    What about working with a partner who could help with reading the instructions? You'd have to be careful about pairing her with someone who would be understanding/willing to help, but also not just wanting to do absolutely everything for her. I bet out of the entire class, there is at least one good match.
     
  11. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    But waterfall, OP said the student doesn't have auditory listening skills well enough for a program such as Kurtzweil to read and display it to the student which means that someone needs to interpret the instructions, not just read them since hearing and seeing it from a computer is too difficult.
     
  12. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Why don't you have her working on something else not science related that she can do independently. You could then teach her science at a time when the other students are working on something independently.
     
  13. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Sure...the partner could help the student understand what the directions were asking as well. I think that would be a better option than having the student off doing something completely different and never being exposed to any of the science stuff at all.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I just have a major problem having a student that is supposed to be reading and completing a lab having to "instruct" the student with a severe disability. OP said very low auditory comprehension, way below grade level in reading, etc. It is not a student's responsibilty to figure out how to make sure this child is understanding the instructions. Not only does the classmate have to read and re-interpret the instruction they must check for understanding with the disabled student. Basically they have to do the job of the teacher which is not fair to the student. It is one thing if the classmate just needs a little help because they struggle to catch on a bit or can't read the big words, but we are talking about a kid so low that technology can't help that needs a completely different curriculum.

    Our students are not trained to be teachers and should not be the support the school should be providing for the disabled student. Supposedly special education teachers have specialized degrees to understand how to teach students with disabilities, how to break things down, how to check for understanding, and of course do paperwork. Having the classmates take on this task is just not right or fair to either student.
     
  15. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    It's not inclusion either so a peer buddy won't work. There's no way to get a regular ed. peer either.

    I'll try some of the suggestions here. She really needs a setting that is less academic.
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Aug 2, 2011

    Well, if it is self-contained then this student probably needs an additional aide or teacher in the room so that she gets needed instruction.
     
  17. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Aug 2, 2011

    WFL-

    Is it possible for you to use stimulus prompting to aid your student? i.e. color code the answers, provide a visual chart with the answers or how to find the answers, use picture clues to match the answers, etc.?

    i.e. if there is a word bank, you can highlight each word a different color and then on the question part of the worksheet, you can circle that question in the same color.

    This type of thing allows exposure to the material, allows her to be independent, and doesn't require an extensive amount of teacher attention (which, she does deserve teaching, but if she's in a setting that's inappropriate for her, this may be the best you can do in order to meet everyone's needs in the classroom).

    Also, what about some sort of repetitive workbook or activity (that is laminated or velcroed) that she can do on a repetitive basis until she "knows" all of the information? Some of the other suggestions or ideas of concepts would be good. I would do a lot of focusing on daily living, independence skills, etc. (health, etc.) This might be a good option when you feel that you need to give her something meaningful that she is able to do independently (personal information, questions about hygiene, health, etc.)

    Honestly, I would try your hardest to include her with the same curriculum (however modified it may be) with the other kids, because a lot of times we underestimate the potential of the kids who are "lower functioning." She may very well be taking in all of the knowledge just unable to express / show her comprehension of it. However, it IS unfair to the other kids if you have to spend a significant amount of time with her during the lesson. I think coming up with activities that are as meaningful as possible (the color coding and/or use of stimulus prompting is a great way to expose her to the same materials but aid in her independence) --- without making it too unfair for any of the kids (including her!)

    I'd also recommend keeping a portfolio sample of the other students' work and her work, this way when it comes time to actually present the idea of placement change to a supervisor or administrator, you will have cold hard evidence that she really is not being served in the most appropriate environment (if that is the case).
     
  18. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    I have a couple of students in my class who need to be in a less academic class. I have finally decreased my academic expectations for them and have come to terms with the fact that they won't get it and may never get it until they have been exposed to it for 2 or more years. I have a 3rd grade student with FAS and seizures and he is slowly losing learnt skills (colors, counting, spelling his name) and is taking forever to learn new skills (letter recognition, counting past 5, number recognition). There are 3 year olds in our preschool program who know more than him. They couldn't score his psych assessment b/c he was unable to complete the tests due to his poor comprehension and working memory. The only things he can remember are things related to food and "who gets in trouble and why", so I am going to try to incorporate this while teaching academics...:unsure:
     
  19. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Another thing that has worked well for comprehension, answering questions, etc. for students who have difficulties in this area, is to underline the important sentence in a color within the paragraph. Then, when there is a question, the "line" for the fill in the blank is the color that matches that answer - it helps the kids to understand the idea of context clues, reading back for information, etc.

    Turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines (the crown group of the superorder Chelonia), characterised by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield. "Turtle" may either refer to the Testudines as a whole, or to particular Testudines which make up a form taxon that is not monophyletic

    Turtles are reptiles of the order _____.
    The cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs acts as a _____.

    Etc. etc.
     
  20. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Sorry to sidetrack. I'm confused as to how this helps comprehension. I can see the student blindly copying words by colors but still not comprehending anything.
     
  21. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    Atoz, can I ask what your degree is in? I can't remember what you teach. I've seen a lot of critiquing of other people's teaching, but not too much of you talking about your own teaching.

    It's low-level special ed. The child is extremely low functioning with multiple impairments. It helps her comprehend because she gets an answer that is correct. It makes sense. It is reinforcing very basic skills without allowing the child to get something wrong. If it's right, at least they are attempting to understand the right thing.

    I could see how general ed. teachers wouldn't get how this worked.
     
  22. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    I would not consider a student with severe disabilities utilizing stimulus prompts as "blindly copying."

    Like any prompting, stimulus prompting is something that is faded out over time. This type of prompting gives the student the ability to answer comprehension questions without adult assistance. This could lead into "CLOZE Reading" activities and other skills. Oftentimes, kids without comprehension skills have no idea how to even look back into the text to find answers.

    If anything, this provides this student with exposure to grade level materials while practicing a meaningful skill (stimulus prompts are something that are used all the way into a variety of vocational fields).

    Obviously, it's not ideal for a child to be in a placement that does not adequately serve their needs. However, we all know that this happens quite frequently in the special ed world. Sometimes, we have to come up with solutions that are not ideal, but let us use best practices to meet the needs of all of the students in the program.
     
  23. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    By the way, prompt fading and errorless learning are research based methods for teaching students with severe disabilities. Feel free to check into those methods if you'd like to learn more.
     
  24. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I didn't mean to phrase the question as a criticism. I work with higher level kids that would see this as a way to get the work done without any real learning. They would see red in the text and a red blank and write the words down. It was an honest question as to how this would help comprehension and how you would actually determine that the result was comprehension without teacher interaction which is the whole premise of this thread.

    As long as you are sure the student is following the proper procedure of reading the paragraph, reading the question, re-reading the sentence that contains the highlighed words, copying the words, and re-reading the question and answer to make sure it makes sense then I can see how this method might work. But that would require teacher intervention to make sure that is happening. Otherwise there is no way to guarantee the student IS doing these things instead of just copying the red words to the red blank.
     
  25. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I will. Thank you.

    Please see my previous post as to why I was thinking what I was thinking. I can still see these prompts incorrectly used by the student.
     
  26. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    This is my second year with the child. She really wants to learn.
    I would not do this with a child anywhere near grade level.
     
  27. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I'm hoping that teachersk has some links for me because I spent a while googling and finding what I could. Everything I read about errorless learning involved an active role by the instructor EXCEPT for a few "companies" selling their math worksheets with answers for some questions as "errorless learning" worksheets.

    I understand errorless learning for static information or for a procedure (looking back at text) or for recall of a fact. However, I am still fuzzy how a correct answer would indicate reading comprehension. I am also fuzzy on how with a student working independently you will know they didn't just match colors and fill in the blank. I guess it is the independent part that throws me in all of this.
     
  28. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    Have you tried looking at professional, peer-reviewed journals?

    Here are some links to articles that may interest you. I can't send you my library ones, so I had to go through Google Scholar:
    http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1995-18252-001
    http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/se...&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ353948
    http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/apl/60/4/533/

    You'll see the studies go back far in time (1975) so it's not some new age nonsense.

    What do you teach? I see no info. anywhere. What is your agenda?
     
  29. MrShiva

    MrShiva Rookie

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    Try to find a very useful teaching method for her, and observe if that method will improve the child's skills, more exaggerated teaching method is the best for them because they want more playful things while they learn.
     
  30. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I'm going to have a situation similar to this this year. I have a student in my English elective who can barely read. I had her in a different elective last year, and the only reason that she passed is that we did enough group work and easy vocabulary work to balance out the tests and projects. Well, in this class, the grades are basically all tests, quizzes, and projects, and almost everything is higher-order analysis. She is regular diploma, so I'm going to ask her counselor if she needs the class to graduate. If she does, I'm going to recommend moving her to a different elective, because I doubt she will be able to pass this course. I'm just not going to be able to modify it enough while maintaining the integrity of the course, especially since I teach two phases (enriched and general) in the same classroom, and I was told to "teach to the top." Honestly, I'm hoping the will move her for her sake. She is going to be very lost in this class.
     
  31. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Waterfalllady, I don't have an agenda. I also don't share where and what information on the internet. I follow internet safety rules that we teach our students.
     
  32. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    a2z, Have you noticed your posts are overwhelmingly negative?

    I also want to point out that I never asked where you taught, just if you had a degree in special education. Please don't give me any information you are uncomfortable sharing. Are you allowed to say if you are a teacher?
     
  33. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Thank you for the links.
     

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