We have just begun to skim the surface of Differentiated Learning and SETT in the last two days of classes. In order to create a useful final project for myself, I have decided to continue my Education Blog and discuss the diverse needs of the students I had in my practicum and how I tailored to their needs. I then plan on applying the new skills I learn each day to these students in order to relate what I am learning to real life scenarios.
Jimmy * (Names have been changed for privacy reasons, of course)- Jimmy is a grade 9 student with Muscular Dystrophy. He is confined to a wheel chair and has very little use of his hands. He is constantly tired and sore and lacks energy in class. He also relies heavily on the Education Assistant for help with his schoolwork. Jimmy is also unable to take notes during class but does enjoy reading from time to time.
Before I began my practicum I was told that Jimmy had been absent from school for a few months and would be coming to class on my first day, therefore, I was quite nervous and had no idea what to do to help him succeed in my class. After my second week, I was made aware that it would be helpful if I had handouts for him and if I was able to keep extra hand outs in the classroom for students who were absent. I was surprised that I had not thought of this myself and honestly felt a bit foolish.
The only adaptation I incorporated in to my lessons for Jimmy was to make sure that the group he was in was always meeting by his desk so that he did not have to move around the classroom.
Looking back now, I wish that he had some sort of light or something that he could turn on so that I would know he wanted to answer a question. Our EA was very good at raising his hand for Jimmy but it would have been nice for Jimmy to be able to do something on his own.
Trent * - Trent was another grade 9 student of mine who had previously been pulled out of school because of his bad attitude. However, he was now working successfully in an integrated classroom setting. Trent had exhibited issues with writing and so had been given a school laptop to use during class to take notes. However, it became quite apparent that Trent was not taking notes during class and so the Education Assistant suggested I also give handouts to Trent.
Cale* - Cale was a student of mine who missed class and was not afraid to say that he had just decided not to come. He was very unorganized and did not hand in assignments on time. However, we had a fantastic working relationship and he often listened to my suggestions. I just wish I had ‘stayed on top of things’ better with him and encouraged his good work habits. Unfortunately, his final project was due on my last day there and I was quite disappointed when I saw it but was not able to follow up on it with him. Looking back now, he sometimes came early to class, and I should have taken that time to a) Help him organize his binder a little and b) discuss that weeks project/last weeks project with him to keep him on track.
As you can see, I felt very unprepared and had little experience with diverse students and was unable to appropriately cater to their needs. Therefore, I am overly excited to begin my learning journey in hopes that I can better assist my future students and help them succeed in my inclusive classroom.