Synthesis of My Experience

5 Observations/Interviews

Interview with an Instructional Assistant

Administration and special education supervisor determines roles and responsibilities

  • Roles
Providing accommodations for students with IEP's

Pre-teach, Re-teach, small group instruction, interventions

Isn't with the same students/grade level the entire day

Focus on student strengths

  • Responsibilities
Must be flexible

Assist any gaps in the classroom (whole or selected student)

Teamwork skills

  • Communication
Sometimes through planning sessions

E-mail, on the spot in the classroom

  • Discipline
Some classes the IA is more comfortable disciplining than others

Mrs. Bleser isn't a major disciplinarian (Focuses on re-directing)

The IA's who don't at all- don't last long

Observation of Reading Lesson in Inclusive Setting

Grade 2 English Language Arts

18 Students, 2 students with disabilities, Ms. Trezevant

Students had to determine attributes of living things and group similarities

  • Differentiated Instruction
Preferential seating with the students with disabilities, they were seated at different tables and at the front of those tables closest to the board.

Extra encouragement and interactions to keep students on task, offered rewards, gave choices. Visual: Presented on promethean board and modeled the activity. Auditory: Speaking through a microphone. Kinesthetic: Cutting out pictures, glueing them on sentence strips, writing the attributes. Think, Pair, Share what the thinking processes were with grouping attributes, encouraged peer collaboration.

  • Roles of the Teacher
Gives time limits to activities

Reminds students of the noise level (emphasizes respect)

Managing the classroom

Deciding student completion and mastery of common attributes

Clearly explain directions

Reduces student anxiety with independent reading by re-wording directions

Modify by giving student choice to use index cards instead of formal lined paper

Proximity and light contact with students with disabilities to encourage them

Being well prepared

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Observation of Math Lesson in Inclusive Setting

5th Grade Math

21 students, 2 with 504 plans, 2 with IEP's; Mrs. March

Students had to represent place value using expanded form, word form, and standard form

  • Differentiated Instruction
Small group/Whole group collaboration

Manipulatives, dry-erase boards, and paper strips

Preferred seating with having all students with educational plans at the same table next to the teacher

Teacher provided a place value chart for students who have graphic organizers on their IEP's and opened the option to the class

Extra praise for students who struggle

  • Role of Teacher
Signed completed homework

The IA monitored all students and tried not to hover over students with disabilities

Valued class participation

Got the students to discover the different forms and practicing in groups rather than lecturing

Observation of Math Lesson in Pullout Setting

4th Grade Math, 3 students, Mrs. Rockwell

Students practiced place value using money

  • Differentiated Instruction
Play money manipulatives, place value charts, hundreds charts, access to dry erase markers and highlighters

Teacher modeled the opening activity that assessed knowledge of comparing numbers using >,<, and =

Teacher used oral and visual instructions

Teacher modeled every activity within the lesson

Answers were reviewed as a class after completion to check for understanding and miscues

Accommodated with counting by ones and tens

The teacher modified homework from 5 questions to 2 questions

  • Instructional vs. Inclusive
There is so much attention deficit that students need to constantly be reminded to focus and not fidget

The students read at a second grade level

One student has borderline dyslexia and the others have minor computation difficulties

Observation IEP Meeting

Annual IEP review; make/agree to any necessary changes to the IEP

Review what strategies worked over the summer and the degree of student behavior

  • Participants and Their Roles
Mother: Connecting experiences from home

Advocate: Support system and legal aid for parent

Special Educator: Case manager and creates goals for student

School Nurse: Records any changes in medical history

School Psychologist: Works with the students' anxiety outside of the classroom

Behavior Interventionist: Record suggestions to help student impulsive behavior

Physical Therapist: Suggest fidget tools, pulls student out weekly for 30 minutes

IEP Supervisor: Assistant principal who facilitates meeting

General Educator: Provides student work samples

  • What Worked
The new fidget tools at home are being carried into school setting

Positive collaboration and focused on student strengths

Agreed on attainable and appropriate goals

Mother suggested ways to help reduce child's anxiety

Educators were more than willing to implement new strategies

  • What Didn't Work
The advocate was stern and pushy with wording on the IEP

Advocate argued with some suggestions from the behavioral interventionist

The mother feels the picking behavior is solely anxiety-the special educator could disagree; believing that the behavior is mostly work avoidance

Common Threads



Don't single out students in an inclusive setting

Provide the option of assistive technologies and accommodations for all students

Constructivist theory to promote discovery and reduce lecturing

Parent involvement is sometimes a difficult task

Classroom rules should be set at the beginning of the year

Team collaboration is important with making decisions for the well-being of students

In My Future Classroom

When working with general educators, communication builds strong relationships over time to pick up teacher routines and preferences. Set expectations so that the IA isn't pushed to do too much and trusted to do a good job

Be well prepared with lessons and have additional activities for students who finish early.

Show interest in students to build respect in the classroom- this will lead to minor disruptions

Always plan to re-teach lessons

Modify homework so that students and parents aren't overwhelmed. If students understand a concept, 2-5 practice problems are effective

Reduce anxiety of students by reviewing the objective and letting them know what the lesson will entail

Communication with parents is key. Maintaing parent involvement through newsletters, phone calls home, and actively updating online grading system will show parents that you care for their children and gain their support and assistance

Being flexible and open to suggestions is important as a future educator. I hope to take into consideration my team members' suggestions and try new instructional strategies.

I will make time for collaboration during private lunch periods or after school hours

Having a good sense of judgement to determine if behavior is work avoidance or for attention.