Support/Accommodations for Special Education Students
As a face-to-face teacher, I felt like one of my biggest strengths was differentiating instruction to satisfy the requirements of all Special Education Accommodations. Over the years I have developed an organized system that works beautifully to support those students; however, I was apprehensive about how I would adapt those strategies to meet the needs of the Special Education students in the online environment. I took for granted how much I was able to infer about my students' needs simply by watching them interact in the classroom, but I found that frequent communication with the student is the key to meeting his/her needs. I worked to consistently check in with my students in need of accommodations to see how they were doing. Once we had a good line of communication, the student was willing to fill me in on their specific needs.
I was extremely surprised to discover that the majority of my students struggled to meet assignment due dates. While their work was typically of high quality, the deductions they received from turning in work late quickly impacted their grades. I began to offer enrichment opportunities to encourage students to dive into the material at a deeper level, and I wanted to help off-set the late work penalties that had become all too common. I was pleasantly surprised to find that many students were willing to complete the extra learning opportunities, and they were definitely more likely to watch the synchronous session recordings when they knew that an ELO was explained in the session. In the future, I will plan ahead to provide at least one ELO per due date to be sure that students are able to off-set late work penalties and interact with the material at a greater depth from the start of the semester.
Many students did not perform very well on the Their Eyes Were Watching God unit test. The novel contains challenging dialect, so students often have difficulties understanding and recalling specific details, while they do seem to understand major concepts and themes fairly well. I used Shmoop to develop some additional questions about some of the major concepts and themes of the novel, and that activity served as an opportunity to remediate the poor scores from the unit test. In the future, I plan to develop more opportunities to remediate throughout the semester.
Tools for Distinct Learning Styles
Like Pale Gold - The Great Gatsby Part I: Crash Course English Literature #4
I have three specific students whose parents expressed their concerns about their child's reading comprehension. These concerns were based on difficulties with reading. As a result, I found it helpful to provide a video summary of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Those three students definitely had a need for the differentiation of the information, but many other students expressed their appreciation for the video, too. In future semesters, I will work to include more videos to support visual and auditory learners.