I Am Thankful

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Audra Brown [email protected] Caitlin Harrison [email protected] Deborah Kalina [email protected]   11/23/2014 EEX 4070   I Am Thankful

Ocean Breeze Elementary:

Ocean Breeze Elementary Public School Grades K-6 Located in Indian Harbour Beach Opened in 1963 Mission Statement: Our Best Achieved Together. National Blue Ribbon School Programs Include : Power Library, Strings and Chorus, Reading Counts, Book Bash, Activity Rotation in Art, Media, Music, and Physical Education. 545 students attend

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We decided to show our support to a special education teacher by working with five of her students whose levels vary, learn in various ways, and understand concepts at different times. We also wanted to help the students see how they could help others in the community. Our activities were done over multiple days which included time with the students to plan, time getting to know them through reading stories, time discussing when, who an what we were thankful for. Our last activity involved the six students creating a picture of one or more Thanksgiving turkeys to give to one of the elderly ladies who were living in assisted living with bare walls. Engagement Activities

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Getting to Know the Students Reading Questions Discussion:

Getting to Know the Students Reading Questions Discussion

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Colorful Turkeys

Giving the Students Pictures to Those in Assisted Living:

Giving the Students Pictures to Those in Assisted Living No more bare walls

Perceptions of Differences:

Perceptions of Differences Our initial thoughts left us wondering how the kids would receive us. We were hoping we could make a difference during the time we had with them. We found the kids to be very uniquely different in how they approached answering questions, writing words, and working on their project. Instead of all these differences creating problems, we were pleasantly surprised on how their teacher had trained the kids to collaborate as a working team together. They respected each others differences seeing it as a benefit they could draw on as a strength. These kids were fortunate to have Mrs. Schell as a teacher and we were fortunate to learn how powerful the right environment with respect makes on learning differences.

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Connections to Our Course

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One course topic that we better understand is adapting the classroom environment and using learning strategies to assist a student with ADHD. Students with ADHD have a difficult time concentrating and controlling impulses. (Wood, pg. 130) We understand how important it is to remind students to focus, listen, and pay attention. We noticed that the class functioned better as a group and worked well together, despite their differences. We believe this is a result of a well-structured classroom environment where the teacher adapted her learning techniques. During a discussion the class would often get off topic. We were told that if we simply raise our hand with our five fingers up the class would become quiet and bring their attention back to us. The hand stands for “stop and look at me”. Connections Environment

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Each student required different accommodations based on their individual needs. For example, during the turkey craft one student did not want to put their hand in the paint so we gave her the option to trace hand instead of making a hand print. Through this coarse we have learned about instructional accommodations that a teacher must make for learning disabled students (Wood, pg. 96). By providing books at different reading levels we assured that each student would have proper accommodations. Connections Accomodations

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Connections Instructional Techniques Over the semester while we were working with the students we learned several techniques to aid students with autism. From the course we have learned that “an array of instructional behavioral techniques have been shown to help the student with autism overcome the deficits associated with the disability and to learn academic, vocational, and social skills” (Wood, pg. 66).” We channeled the excitement from these students into a positive and meaningful discussion about the activity we were doing at the time.

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It is very i mportant for deeper understanding. Without being in the classroom we can not fully apricate students with disabilities and how they learn. Not only did they learn from us, but we learned from them how each child is unique and has their own needs. Service learning is a wonderful way to learn exactly what we will be doing as future teachs . Motivated us to become more service-learning involved. We would highly recommend teachers and students embrace service-learning. Civic Engagement

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There is a multitude of places providing opportunities for us to gain a greater understanding, and empathy for those with special needs. This project has opened our eyes to the world of teaching students with special needs and the joy they have within in. We have expanded students awareness of their community and how they can have a positive impact on others such as the elderly. We as future teachers have a role in helping individuals with special needs work with the community they live in and make a difference . Final Thoughts & Reflections


References Wood, Judy. Teaching Students in Inclusive Settings. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, 2006. Text.

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