Case Study Power Point –

26 04 2010


After a semester of observing, analyzing, and implementing, my Case Study has begun to come to a close.  The following PowerPoint presenation is a summation of my experiences with my student.

Case Study Power Point Presentation

Note – when I uploaded it onto googledocs, the formatting changed, so please excuse any confusion!


Classroom application –

26 04 2010

We were recently posed with this question:

What would you do if your students weren’t completing their assignments?

While there are most like a number of wonderful texts to reference while building strategies for this issue in the classroom, it seems this sort of problem must most definitely be dealt with on a situational basis.  However, I also feel there are a couple of key strategies for figuring out how these sorts of students back on track with their assignments.

1.  Clarify the expectations.  During my own Student Teaching experience, this became an issue among our students.  Every morning, students are required to come in and pick up a “Morning Math” worksheet from the back table.  The worksheet is used among all the 4th grade teachers, therefore when the students switch for math, they are all using the same morning curriculum.  However, becuase of the hustle and bustle of the morning schedule (bus arrival time, unpacking, announcements, etc) the Morning Work was not always the top priority and sometimes became overlooked.  Therefore, students would switch for math and not have completed their work, or not even have picked it up from the back table! 

Therefore, it became necessary that we go back and clarify the expectations for the morning time.  We established a “quiet time” from 10 minutes before the announcements start until the announcements begin.  During this time, students should have already been unpacked and settled for the day, giving them plenty of time to finish their morning math before class switches.  After this clarification and implementation of “quiet time”, the students began completing the Morning Math and being more focused in the mornings.

2.  Figure out the problem.  A few times recently when students have not completed their work, I have inquired further as to why they were not able to complete the assignment.  In particular, I would try to have them answer the following sorts of questions:  a) Was there a family/social event the previous night that stole time away from completing your work? b) Was the skill level of the assignment too difficult?  Or too easy?  c) Was the information on the assignment a concept which you misunderstood in class or were absent for? d) Was the assignment unclear to you?

Based on their answers, I feel I can modifiy the assignment or guide them in approaching the assignment in a different way.

3.  Gauge their interest.  When answering the questions above, I have sometimes recognized that students were not completing their work simply because they were uninterested in the topic or activity being required of them.  Students weren’t completing their work not because they couldn’t, but because they didn’t see the relevance of the work to their own lives. 

For example, recently we began a unit on Rocks and Minerals in our Science class, some students were terribly uninterested, claiming that they didn’t know anything about rocks and that they didn’t care anything about rocks.  Therefore, I created a slideshow of all the amazing uses of rocks and minerals (ways they didn’t realize rocks were used but would think were very cool!)  While I didn’t necessarily transform all students into Rock fanatics, I did motivate them to gain some interest in learning more about rocks.

Much of learning the culture of a classroom is learning how students percieve learning and equally how they percieve the school setting.  By creating a classroom community in which students feel they can communicate their needs and interests to the teacher is a sure way of motivating students to complete tasks to the best of their ability.

April Article – “Social Competence”

16 04 2010

Collaboration to Promote Social Competence for Students With Mild Disabilities in the General Classroom: A Structure for Providing Social Support”  by Hedda Meaden and Lisa Monda-Amaya.

By skimming over the articles available to read this month, this title caught my eye.  In particular, I have a few students in my class who are in desperate need of learning some skills in “social competence.”  While some of them are actually labeled with minor disabilities like autism, ADHD, or an OHI, one of them in particular is not labeled at all.  However, his interactions in the classroom are not average in relation to his peers. 

While I realize that not all students should be on the same page as far as development at any given time, I do feel that in certain areas, students should be somewhat at the same level.  For example, while I recognize that some of my students are more mature than others, it seems they are generally all on the same level as far as social skills (in general).

However, for these few students, it seems that social competence (or the ability to recognize cues in certain situations) is a challenge.  Not even that they are not executing correct social skills or choosing to be defiant, but that they are not even recognizing the appropriate behaviors for a given situation.

In the coming year, while setting up my own classroom, I hope to implement some of the strategies discussed in this article.  Particularly, setting up a classroom community in which students are constantly being reminded of appropriate behaviors.  More importantly, I am extremely interested in the “modeling” strategy that was suggested by the authors.  Recently, I have been trying to demonstrate to my students the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors by acting them out – literally role-playing for them and allowing them to visually see what actions are appropriate.  This “modeling” strategy is definitely something I hope to use in the future.

Case Study Update –

24 03 2010

This Case Study has provided me with a funny kind of relationship with my student.  While it has made me focus in on many of his challenges in the classroom and caused some frustration within my own classroom management system, it has equally caused me to pay more attention to the positive and enjoyable characteristics and personality traits of my student.  In general, it has really helped me to develop a deeper and more personal relationship with this student.

One particular transformation in our relationship is something I have just noticed within the last 2 weeks.  Over the course of this past semester, I have develop a stronger disciplinary system with this particular student.  As mentioned earlier, we have implemented a behavior checklist which gets checked off during every subject/class of the day.  While this provides him with immediate feedback on his behavior (immediacy being the key for him), it also is a continual reminder to him if he has had unacceptable behavior.   As in, it reminds him that he is “in trouble.”  (He’s not really in trouble, just in a state of needing to “make a change.”)    All that being said, the checklist caused him to not want to interact with me as much when it was first being implemented.  It was that negative consequence on the checklist that seemed to make him feel as if their was tension between us.

However, over the past few weeks, I have tried to emphasize to him in subtle ways that I care about him and am truly intrested in his life.  It is definitely apparent that he has caught on because his attitude towards me has dramatically improved over these past few weeks.  While he still realizes that I am going to be strict on him (especially in regards to the checklist), he is able to respect that, and in return spend more time enjoying the school day with me.  He knows that I am going to expect certain behaviors from him, but thath I am also willing to joke around with him.

“Specific Behavior Challenges”

10 03 2010

I love the idea of “acceptable replacement behaviors.” 

The theme of this text seems to be allowing students more independence and feelings of belonging in the classroom.  By giving students the respect and opportunities they deserve as learners in a diverse classroom, providing them with ways to improve their own personal success in the classroom is extremely important.

One way (which I have seen in my own classroom), is providing students with acceptable replacement behaviors.  I have seen this modeled by my own Cooperating Teacher, but would like more guidance on how to effectively use this with students of all types.  For the mean time though, I have begun to use this with a number of different students in my class, particularly the ones labeled with IEPs.  These particular students are sometimes unable to control their behaviors, instincts, reactions, blurt-outs, etc, like I would want them to.  Therefore, I use the idea of “acceptable replacement behavior” to not reprimand them, but more importantly, to provide them with guidance to change or transform their behavior.

For example, if student A is walking down the class swinging his arms and yelling out (while all the other children are walking in a semi-organized line), I may say to student A, “By looking at your classmates, do you notice some behaviors which I might be thinking are good behaviors?”  If the student remains oblivious and says, “No” then I will move to, “What are some behaviors which you think I might think are acceptable for the hallway?”  This allows us not to have a critical conversation in which the student feels lowly or defensive, but more a conversation where the student thinks that they themselves are coming up with good behaviors.

In my own opinion, I think this allows students more automaticity in the classroom – it allows them to develop more skills in self-monitoring, helping them to think through their behaviors and develop more reasonable logic in being able to control  and practice good behaviors.

Case Study, thus far.

10 03 2010

The case study student which I have chosen to observe for this semester has changed from the student which I observed from last semester.  This student is a student which I origially considered observing, but because of temporary circumstances, ended up observing the previous student.

All that being said, I feel I have successfully implemented strategies for improved classroom experiences for my student from last semester, and therefore would like to move on to improve the classroom experience for my current case study student.  As well, I feel I have had the past semester and a half to observe him and have begun to understand the needs and challenges of this new student.

So far this semester, along with watching my student’s behaviors and monitoring his interactions (academically and socially), I have already implemented some modified strategies for his participation in class.  The main modification which I have implemented is a Behavior Checklist.  The Behavior Checklist is a packet of 5 sheets (one per day of the week) which the student carries with him throughout the entire day.  The checklist has two columns for each day:

Column 1:  Student will use his words to express his frustrations or angers.

Column 2:  Student will use self-monitoring behaviors to stay calm and collected in the classroom.

As my student has struggles keeping calm and stable, this checklist is specifically to manage is anger problems.  He is easily frustrated and is sometimes unable to successfully bring his emotions into check.  Therefore, this checklist is simple and straight to the point – the student is able to identify two very specific goals which he should achieve within each class period.

The checklist requires that the student has a signature from the teacher after every period (math, literacy, lunch, specials, recess, etc etc).  This way, the student is continuously responsible for his actions throughout the day.  As well, all of the teachers and faculty which come into contact with him can easily look over the checklist and see a quick history of how his behavior has been throughout the whole day.

Thus far, I have seen some improvements in his behavior.  Specifically, by being able to reference the “checklist” we are able to get a temporary reaction out of him – he loves pleasing teachers and therefore looks for ways to do his best.

As far as daily anecdotal notes go, this has been a great way to keep track of his behaviors over periods of time.  Constantly, I will jot little notes on his checklist (positive things he has done, things he can work on, etc) – this way I am able to know at the weeks end a summary of his behaviors and improvements.

Salend, Chapter 7.

14 02 2010

It feels like I’ve been hearing more and more about “Positive Behaviors Support Systems” these days.  In class, at seminars, within the schools – this type of behavior mangaement program seems to be all the rage among educators.  And to no fault – allowing the students to have appropriate behaviors modeled for them and be praised for appropriate behaviors seems to be a great way to encourage students in the inclusion classroom.

At our elementary school, the Positive Behavior Support System seems to be modeled in nearly every classroom.  There is definitely a need for an appropriate atmostphere and attitude if using such a system.  If everyone is not on board for creating a consistent policy with the school, there could be some major issues with requiring students to follow behavior expectations.

The Functional Behavioral Assessment seems to me must like a Individual Education Plan – with the assessments, collaboration of educators and family, and the goals set, it seems nearly identical.  I’m not exactly sure what the difference is supposed to be or if there even is one, truthfully.  It worries me that this sort of redundency in the education world tends not to be that effective, and that all the lingo used just helps to cover up somewhat superficially, not always getting to the root of the problem.  As a pre-service teacher, this may be unfair and naive of me to say, but this is just how is seems as of my present experiences.

I do, however, appreciate the many “self-assessments” that are included here.  One of the main examples which I could find in my own classroom is a self-created behavior checklist that a few of my students use.  They helped to create a list of actions that they should complete everyday, a self-assessment of sorts.  It tends to be more effective since the students themselves created the checklists – they are in a sense taking more responsibility for their own actions.